Star Surgeon

Cover of book Star Surgeon
Categories: Fiction » Science Fiction

Dal Timgar had always wanted to be a doctor. As a Garvian and the first non-human to study medicine on Hospital Earth, he must face enormous adversity from classmates, professors, and some of the high

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est ranking physicians on all of Earth. Will his efforts be enough to earn him the Silver Star of a Star Surgeon?

Just who in the name of DeForest Kelley would think to write a Star Trek-style science fiction novel featuring the Earth as part of a Galactic Confederation of spacefaring species in which the heroes boldly going where no one has gone before are - wait for it - doctors?

Answer? A doctor, of course.

In physician and sci-fi writer Alan E. Nourse's take on the future, we will all come to live on Hospital Earth, and due to our superior skills with surgery and all things medical will be 'in charge of the health of a thousand intelligent races on a thousand planets of a thousand distant star systems.'

I bet there still won't be an NHS in America though.

Yanks would probably be better off as Garvians. We save them gratis from the plague as they generally dominate galactic politics and trade. Not that they don't deserve the goodwill. They may be shorter and hairier and have one less finger than us, but they sure seem nicer.

And here's the rub, one of the two reasons I really enjoyed this little novel, despite being essentially a pretty standard quality space opera of its time, probably published with nothing more than a juvenile audience in mind too.

The moral. In short, we humans need to tidy our act up before we are worthy of a full membership within the space community, and it takes our tolerance of an alien stepping into our shoes to earn that place.

That alien is, of course, a Garvian, namely Dal Timgar, who wants to be the first Star Surgeon of his species - who like every other species seem to know heaps about astral physics and nothing about medicine. But not everyone wants him to succeed.

Fortunately he has the help of Fuzzy, a little fur ball with whom he has a symbiotic relationship ("He's a pleomorph," Dal said. "No cellular structure at all, just a protein-colloid matrix." Er, right-o!), and Frank "Tiger" Martin, a good guy human doctor.

So other than the moral of racial tolerance, what was the other reason I really liked Star Surgeon?

Just, simply, the unlikeliness of it. Who needs Flash Gordan when you've got Dr Kildare?

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Guest 9 months ago

Alan Nourse has the rare ability to combine imaginative and insightful science fiction with a level of morality that is becoming increasingly rare as time goes by. His works are internally consistent and easily read. My only complaint is that his works are not longer.

Guest a year ago

As i read the sentence lines keep getting longer and longer so the right side end gets lost on the right side of the page going off the page. After chapter two it's nearly impossible to read so gave up. Al

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