Forgotten Omnibus: Tales of Sector General by James White

this is the 237th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

Tales of Sector GeneralTales of Sector General by James White, [1999 Science Fiction Book Club omnibus containing 3 Sector General novels: The Galactic Gourmet (1996), Final Diagnosis (1997) and Mind Changer (1998). Science fiction.

At the time of publication, these were the final three Sector General novels James White wrote, but he added Double Contact in 1999, the last novel. All of them are about and mostly take place on Sector General Hospital, a huge multi-species medical facility floating in neutral space.

The novels, and a few short stories, are strongly character driven and focus on the multi-species staff or patients at the facility.

White has a reader friendly descriptive style that keeps these medical SF novels from becoming dreary or didactic. Instead. there is enough medical information, much of it, naturally invented for alien species, to explain the problem which the staff then solve in clever and often unusual ways.

  • Can a galaxy-class master chef make a place for himself in a multi-species hospital?
  • Can a patient be mentally broadcasting a virus from one species to another?
  • Can a human psychologist put the memories of an alien surgeon in his head and then talk a medical student through a delicate operation?

All three of these novels  – and the entire series – can stand alone, but it is my recommendation that the novice James White reader begin at the beginning, and follow the order shown in the list below. This is very good science fiction indeed, and the reader is rewarded with characters to like and puzzles to solve in a different and intriguing environment. Not to be missed.

The books in the series are:

  • Hospital Station (1962: stories published in New Worlds 1957–1960)
  • Star Surgeon (1963)
  • Major Operation (1971: stories published in New Worlds 1968–1971)
  • Ambulance Ship (1979)
  • Sector General (1983)
  • Star Healer (1985)
  • Code Blue – Emergency (1987)
  • The Genocidal Healer (1992)
  • The Galactic Gourmet (1996)
  • Final Diagnosis (1997)
  • Mind Changer (1998)
  • Double Contact (1999)

These were also published as omnibus editions:

  • Beginning Operations (2001) contains Hospital StationStar Surgeon and Major Operation.
  • Alien Emergencies (2002) contains Ambulance ShipSector General and Star Healer.
  • General Practice (2003) contains Code Blue – Emergency and The Genocidal Healer.
  • Tales of Sector General (1999) contains The Galactic GourmetFinal Diagnosis, and Mind Changer.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Forgotten Omnibus: Tales of Sector General by James White

  1. I’ve still got a few of his works around my TBR piles. I’ve always enjoyed him

  2. I’m pretty sure I read Hospital Station some time in the mid-80s. I know that I read the origin story, with two war heroes trying to convince their respective races to work together. By chance they’re on the scene of an accident and they, along with others, pitch in to save the wounded. Pretty good stuff but I never read more.

    • That’s a good summary of the origin novel (or story) and it just got better from there. I’ve now finally read all of the Sector General books except that last one, Double Contact, which is high on the ToRead pile. I suggest you try another, Graham.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    As you know I’m a fan too. I think I’ve read about half a dozen plus a collection of stories, and have three or four on the shelf unread, but since I’m not home I can’t check the database or what I have. I might need to get one or two more I’m still missing.

    • I think I have them all, unless I let one or more slip away after reading. I have the mass market of Double Contact waiting #2 on the TBR. I’m reading Joe Gores first novel now A Time of Predators (which won an Edgar).

  4. Jerry House says:

    I am so far behind on reading White…**sigh**

  5. tracybham says:

    These sound very interesting, Richard. I am going to have to look into James White. I will try to start from the beginning, I always prefer that.

  6. David H. Durgee says:

    You are correct abot this being a forgotten omnibus, I was unaware of it until today. In fact I am puzzled to find that there is neither a nook nor a kindle version of this omnibus. Very strange.

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