Reviews: White, James

Can you show me where it hurts?

Hospital Station — James White
Sector General, book 1

First published as short stories in New Worlds Magazine , James White’s Sector General was by far his most successful series. Of the twenty-one novels and nine collections White published, twelve were Sector General books. 1962’s Hospital Station was the very first Sector General fix-up, gathering short works first published in New Worlds.

Strategically located midway between the rim of the parent galaxy and the densely populated systems of the Greater Magellanic Cloud, Sector 12 General Hospital took the resources of hundreds of civilized worlds to create. Not a surprise, since its mission is to provide health care to all beings of all kinds. Even the radioactive ones. Even the ones unfamiliar to the Galactic Federation, races about which nothing is known.

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A simple, daring plan which at practically every stage was packed with things that could go wrong

The Escape Orbit — James White

I was very excited to be commissioned to review this novel. White is one of my favorite authors. Even his Sector General stories, which are not my thing, get points for having plots driven by something other than violence. Not only that, but this is one of the few James White novels that I had never read. What could go wrong?

Well, two things. First, 1965’s The Escape Orbit is as close to MilSF as White ever got. Second, there is one thing about White’s fiction that I often find troublesome. Unfortunately for me, that one thing is front and center in this novel.

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Why I collect James White books

Monsters and Medics — James White

This short collection—just 266 pages, 109 of which are taken up by a single short novel—will always have a special place in my heart. This was the second White I encountered [1], but it was this collection that turned me into a James White fan.

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The Universe is Antagonist Enough

Deadly Litter — James White

I freely admit that this review of 1964’s Deadly Litter is a placeholder review. It buys me time until I can toddle over to Dana Porter Arts Library’s Rare Books room, where I hope to read and review their copy of Escape Orbit. I own a lot of White books but not, as it happens, that one. Deadly Litter won out over all of the other James White novels that I could have reread because I could not remember reading it at any point since the 1970s. Also, it was at the top of my stack of James White novels and if I picked any other book, the stack would have fallen over.

I have to say, that method handed me a better book than have many of my more intellectual approaches.

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