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23 Oct 2005
Double Contact - James White - Tor, 1999
* * * * *
This is the second of my US imports. James White is another of those writers whose books, like Lois McMaster Bujold's, are readily available in any US bookstore but for some unaccountable reason are almost unobtainable here. He was a Northern Irish author who started in the golden age of science fiction in the 1950s and is most famous for his sequence of novels about Sector General, a huge multi-species space hospital which, to quote Dave Langford, "is one of the few places in SF that one would really, really like to exist". The reason for this is the harmonious and funny interactions between the aliens that make up Sector General's medical team and the optimistic idea that all intelligent, civilised species would turn out to share a common sense of decency and moral standards - once some initial communications and practical difficulties have been overcome, that is. Those difficulties form the motor of this, the last Sector General book that White would live to write.
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