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 More about Sector General, Northern Ireland resident White's colossal, multi-species space hospital (The Galactic Gourmet, 1996, etc.). This time, patient Hewlitt (human) arrives at Sector General with chronic, ill-defined symptoms that have baffled and annoyed human doctors for years: He's impotent, hypersensitive to medication of any sort, xenophobic, but otherwise in perfect health. But did he imagine an incident when, as a child, he ate a poisonous fruit and then fell out of a tall tree? His new alien doctors--and his fellow-patients--listen to his case history with fascination and varying degrees of disbelief. The key is planet Etla, where Hewlitt lived as a young boy, so a hospital ship with Hewlitt and his doctors aboard goes to investigate. Hewlitt, it turns out, did indeed fall out of a tree as a child, and in doing so struck and broke a mysterious cylinder that contained biological materials. He was thereupon infected with an intelligent virus that previously served another alien as its physician: Hewlitt is the galaxy's first patient to be infected with his doctor! Reaching Sector General, the virus moved on to new hosts, leaving each in perfect health but provoking fears of an interspecies plague. A first-class medical puzzle and its absorbing solution, with always a twinkle in the author's eye: thoroughly enjoyable.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-86148-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997


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