By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Scott D. Farquhar
14 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – 5 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org / Podiobooks.com
Published: June 2007 / October 2007
Themes: / Science Fiction / Medicine / First Contact / Galactic Civilization / Symbiosis / Space Travel / Juvenile /
Dal Tigmar is an alien, he’s also a red braid, that’s a “Red Doctor” in the “Red Service of Surgery.” As a recent graduate of the Galaxy’s most prestigious medical school he’s the only non-human doctor to ever train on “Hospital Earth.” Earth became “Hospital Earth” shortly after humans discovered a faster than light technology. It seems that Earth’s doctors are the best in the entire galaxy, and that fact may soon gain humanity a permanent membership in the Galactic Federation. Earth is currently only a trial member – and some of medical brass of Hospital Earth think that Dal’s graduation may threaten permanent membership. So Dal’s been isolated by his alienness, and was pushed around during his training. But little more stands in his way, as his final test is about to begin. For it, Dal must join two other doctors in a series of planetary housecalls, providing service for Earth’s medical contracts, proving his skills to Hospital Earth. During the voyage Dal is accompanied by his symbiotic pet “fuzzy” a pink blob of protein that is more than it appears, his one pal from Medical School “Tiger” Martin, and a hostile young blue braid named Jack Alvarez, from the diagnostic services. Their ship is “The Lancet” a small patrol ship packed to the rafters with medical supplies. They’ll command the ship jointly.
Alan E. Nourse sure knew how to write! This is a peppy little novel, that though first published nearly 50 years ago, still crackles with energy. It plays out like a typical Heinleinian juvenile, minus the lectures. Especially interesting is the Pre-Star Trek galactic federation angle, with all those colour coded uniforms. Red Service of Surgery, Blue Service of Diagnosis, Green Service of Medicine. Black Service of Pathology, White Service of Radiology. It makes for a very visual audiobook. There aren’t that many characters, and curiously enough, not one female is even mentioned – someone forgot about the Pink Service of Gynecology I guess. And while were at it, what of the Brown Service of Proctology? But seriously, this is one of those rare novels that tells its story from the perspective of an alien. It deals with solid juvenile SF material, prejudices, core values and science, all to good effect. I’m pleased to be able to recommend it as a listen to just about anyone.
Scott Farquhar reads the novel with a clinical precision, he enunciates each word loud and clear. This is important as there is usual slathering of SF technospeak atop the real and futurized medical jargon. Amateur narrators looking for a role model, should look towards Farquhar!
You can subscribe to the LibriVox podcast feed via this URL:
Alternatively, there is a slightly enhanced Podiobooks.com version available now too. This version has the addition of musical cues at the start each chapter, there’s a brief biographical note about Dr. Alan Nourse in the final chapter as well as some outtakes from the recording. A portion of all proceeds donated through Podiobooks.com goes to AIDS Research or Safe Sex Education programs (two subjects important to Nourse).
Posted by Jesse Willis
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