Monday, August 12, 2013

Code Blue -- Emergency

By James White

Cha Thrat was a warrior-surgeon. As her people had been at peace for a very long time, the warrior part of her title was mainly an indication of status only. But Cha Thrat came from a very stratified society, with just three classes of people, serviles, warriors and rulers. As a surgeon, Cha Thrat was very traditional, which made her unpopular with her peers. But she was one of the best surgeons. So when an injured human was found in a wrecked craft, and Cha Thrat was on vacation in the area, it only made sense that she should attempt to put back together a gravely injured being, even though she was totally unfamiliar with human anatomy. But she did such a good job that the man's life and limbs were saved and his superiors were so impressed with her skills as a surgeon that she was invited to join the staff of Sector General, the huge multi-species space-hospital that served as a treatment facility for fifty-plus different species of beings.
Due to pressures at work, Cha Thrat felt obliged to accept the offer and shortly found herself in a completely alien environment, surrounded by strange and often fearsome-appearing creatures, gabbling in a bewildering variety of languages, and all part of the massive conglomeration that was Sector General. How she would ever find a place within this complex and confusing hospital remained to be seen, and even more disheartening was that she had to become a student again, required to take classes and attend lectures and start her professional life over. Further, it seemed everything she did upset her superiors and she found herself the talk of the hospital and banned from every ward, finally ending up working as a maintenance technician. She didn't give though because even maintenance techs are a vital and important part of the smooth running of the giant institution that is Sector General.

This was a good book, with Cha Thrat trying to adapt to a strange new environment and her fellows trying to adapt to her in return. White's aliens are always strange and interesting and following Cha Thrat struggles was quite engrossing and entertaining.

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