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Death and the Senator

Death and the Senator by Arthur C. Clarke
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Martin Steelman, a senior United States Senator, has always trodden the path toward power and the Presidency, with which he was obsessed. Towards that end he has sacrificed friendship, his marriage, daughter and grandchildren, from whom he is estranged. But now he has been given a terminal medical diagnosis: his cardiac condition is incurable and irreversible and soon he will die. Resigned to this, faced with the end of ambition and the hollowness of the life that his ambition has left him, Steelman moves to reconcile with his divorced wife, his estranged daughter and through them establishes with his grandchildren the first real family relationship he has ever had.

Then, Steelman finds that an experimental medical treatment, one which can be administered only in the weightless environment provided by the Russian space station, may save his life. He is approached by the State Department and the Russians and offered the treatment and therefore the very possible extension of his life. Decades earlier, in his capacity as a powerful Senate committee chairman, Steelman had been instrumental in killing a similar orbital station for the USA, calling it an egregious waste of public funds. Now Steelman comes to understand that if he accepts the treatment he will be known as a hypocrite; furthermore, he learns in a graphic way that he will displace others who may be equally or more worthy from this expensive and exclusive treatment. Steelman realizes that the dilemma he faces has placed him in the crucible of his life.

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Title: Death and the Senator
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
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