cover image Mind Changer: A Sector General Novel

Mind Changer: A Sector General Novel

James White. Tor Books, $23.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86663-1

The latest novel in White's long-running and justly popular Sector General series (Final Diagnosis, etc.)--about a far future, multispecies, interstellar hospital--features an unlikely protagonist. He is Dr. O'Mara, the formidable and ferocious Chief Psychologist of Sector General, newly appointed head of the hospital until he can choose and train his successor. As O'Mara embarks on that quest, his 30-year career at Sector General unfolds through a series of flashbacks, which also reveal a great deal about the early careers of some of the other ongoing characters in the series. Also depicted is the early progress with the Educator tapes that have allowed interspecies surgery through mental imprinting--one of White's more original, durable and admirable concepts. Through O'Mara's entire career runs his bond with Marrasarah, the Kelgian female surgeon whose Educator tape O'Mara used first, and for whom he developed therapies that helped her and other Kelgians severely disfigured by damage to their fur to lead sane and productive lives. The proliferation of flashbacks may occasionally confuse readers, but otherwise this is White's finest performance, replete with wit, originality, medical expertise and sheer decency. The Sector General saga is now in its 10th novel and 36th year, but it shows few signs of aging. (Oct.)