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January Books 5) The Secret Visitors

5) The Secret Visitors, by James White (.co.uk, .com)

This was James White's first novel, published in 1961, and like many of his others the central character is a human doctor confronted with peculiar health problems, a precursor to his best-known works, the Sector General galactic hospital series. However, it's definitely a novel of its time; the galactic federation is interested in Earth, apparently, because our planet is unique in having a) an axial tilt and b) decent scenery. Added to this, our Earthmen heroes discover that the ultra-civilised galactics have lost all knowledge of a) surgery and b) battle tactics, and are able to help them out of a tricky spot or two. But it's fun; and it's particularly fun for me because of the use of Northern Ireland (in particular Portballintrae) as a setting for much of the first half of the book - this being a reason for me to read it, as it's part of my list.

Comments

nwhyte
Jan. 9th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
Rich, thanks. It's pretty clear that my 1963 printing of the 1961 edition is substantially the same as the 1957 Ace version, from what you say. The earlier date of writing does make sense - the fact that the central character is a WW2 veteran but still clearly of marriageable age seemed to me a bit of a stretch for 16 years after the war ended, but is less so for 12 years on (possibly even fewer depending when it was actually written).

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