Badge of Infamy
They took the phrase that all men were created equal and left out the implied kicker that equality was in the sight of God and before the law. They wanted an equality with the greatest men without giving up their drive toward mediocrity, and they meant to have it. In a way, they got it.
They got the vote extended to everyone. The man on subsidy or public dole could vote to demand more. The man who read of nothing beyond sex crimes could vote on the great political issues of the world. No ability was needed for his vote. In fact, he was assured that voting alone was enough to make him a fine and noble citizen. He loved that, if he bothered to vote at all that year. He became a great man by listing his unthought, hungry desire for someone to take care of him without responsibility. So he went out and voted
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The writing is not so dry as the summary; it actually held my interest. There's a little mystery, some ex-spouse friction, double-dealing on both sides, and a war of liberation. Yes, the doctor is pure and idealistic, and the ex-wife is oddly amorphous in her loyalties and loves. Parts could be better, but I don't regret the time I spent reading it.
Doc Feldman, a caring doctor married the Daughter of the grand poobah of the medical lobby and has been labelled a "pariah" by the Lobby for performing emergency surgery outside of a hospital to try to save the life of a friend. If he is caught practicing medicine again, well... the penalty may be death! He is hounded by his wife who wants him punished. They are separated because of his "transgression". (I guess the good samaritan law got repealed)
He wanders, penniless and unemployable, but gets a crewman's ticket to Mars from a dead spacer. Mars is a crude frontier colony and they shelter him from the medical lobby as he dedicates himself to caring for the Martians.
He comes across the first martian disease which threatens not only Mars but Earth as well and embarks on a search for a cure with a few test tubes and a stethoscope; all the while being hounded by the Lobby and his wife.
Comment; The story is Ok, the social commentary about the way the world went may cause some pucker to anyone today who follows current events, but the medical science is totally stupid.
And, If I were Doc Feldman, I'd have killed my Bi*ch of a wife in chapter one-or any subsequent chapter she pops up in. Like a prior reviewer said. 'Not up to Del Ray's standard.