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Young, Robert F. – “Jungle Doctor” (1955)

07/13/2014

1956 – No time travel stories this year – which is odd, but fine. No stories by women authors, which is neither odd nor fine.

Opens promisingly – Sarith has mistakenly teleported not to Chalce, but to some mysterious other planet currently experiencing a snowstorm. Knowing from the climate that it must support intelligent life (habitable planets always do, apparently), she sets out in search of civilization, before being overcome by the snow. A native approaches… it’s Graham Lindsey, of Anytown, USA. Yes, the alien planet is Earth, and yes, just to twist the knife, Sarith is also a human alien, only apparently space humans look like children. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed child, at that, which reminds me that all of the space humans encountered so far (and there have been so, so many of them) have presumably been white. Lindsey is a drunk who spends his days washing cars, which he hallucinates as being covered in blood. Sarith, as fate would have it, was on her way to Chalce to be a psi-therapist, and she uses her telepathic powers to figure out that Lindsey accidentally ran over and killed his wife some years ago, hence the hallucinations and drunkenness. Inspired by a book she reads about Albert Schweitzer (and the fact that her transporter belt is rapidly running out of juice), she decides to stay on this primitive planet helping to psychically heal Earthlings. Half-heartedly gestures toward a critique of Western medical practices abound (Sarith is aghast that patients have to come to doctors rather than the other way), and she is explicitly compared to Christ.

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