Sector General [series]

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James White's long-running Series of Sector General stories, centred on the vast, multispecies Space Habitat whose full name is Sector Twelve General Hospital, are popular and likeable examples of Medicine-based sf. The sequence began with Hospital Station (stories November 1957-June 1960 New Worlds; coll of linked stories 1962) and continued until White's death in 1999 (see his entry for further discussion). Continuing themes are the hatefulness of War and the smoothing-over of First Contact difficulties by aiding and/or healing Aliens with often bizarre health issues; rescue missions outside Sector General predominated in the fourth volume, Ambulance Ship (coll of linked stories 1979; exp 1980 UK with one added story). Sf devices include artificial Gravity (see Pressor Beam; Tractor Beam), a Universal Translator Computer, and acquisition of cross-species medical expertise via a form of partial Identity Transfer whereby alien doctors' skills and (not always congenial) personalities are mentally uploaded from "Educator Tapes". [DRL]

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