Troops being rushed out to Vietnam by the truck loads, rise in foreign technology and more women workers all played a major for corporate America in the sixties. Businesses were now in a sudden and brutal competition for production. Weapons, planes, ships and other war gear were needed desperately across sea. Foreign competition was sneaking up on the once U.S. lead industrial world. Women were finding less and less housewives jobs and more and more full time employment options. Everyone needed their products and services sold and they needed them sold by yesterday. With such a big push on productivity and dollars earned, customers are pushed aside and thought of only as digits. Nothing can explain the industrial and ethical situation of the sixties better than “The Chaser” by John Collier.
Not only has he captured the business aspects of the sixties, but he also has summoned the ethical topic of the sixties as well into his masterpiece. The ‘teens’ to young adults all had vivid dreams, some of peace, some of imaginary lands. The topic they set for themselves was love. Alan Austen is the young, love strucken, dreamers of the sixties grouped into one body. They are very trust worthy and feel unity just around the next corner. While on the side are the older, wiser, money crazy business men who would do just about anything for their next dollar.
This role is played by the old man who sells the key to the gateway of your dreams. The teens are looking to find an answer to their missing love and they make the mistake of listening to the business men and they find themselves only tricked and used rather then set straight. Alan only wants love. That’s all he can think about is love. The old man want’s money, Alan is just another figure in the balance book. And the potion symbolizes the magical part of life that Alan dreamt or felt. No matter how unreal or what the long term effects were, he needed the substance and he needed it now.
Someone needs to go up to John Collier and pat him on the back for a job well done in this story. “The Chaser” is a big slap in the face to corporate America and how they treated the young novices. Any successful businessman of the sixties will probably turn sick to their stomach after reading this story due to the fact that he must likely took advantage of them too. Collier used excellent satire and wonderful enchantment of fantasy to finalize and detail the point right to the tip.