Beginning Operations: A Sector General Omnibus (Sector General, #1-3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Beginning Operations: A Sector General Omnibus (Sector General #1-3)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  220 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Hospital Station / Star Surgeon / Major Operation
"Sector General: A massive deep-space hospital station on the Galactic Rim, where human and alien medicine meet. Its 384 levels and thousands of staff members are supposedly able to meet the needs of the any conceivable alien patient - though that capacity is always being strained as more (and stranger) alien races turn up t...more
Paperback, 511 pages
Published June 2nd 2001 by Tor Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beginning Operations, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Beginning Operations

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 375)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Simcha Lazarus
Reading Beginning Operations is the most fun I have had with a scifi book in a long time. It was like M.A.S.H in space, though with a furry, teddy bear-like creature instead of Radar. The General Sector hospital is definitely a place I would love to visit, with its fascinating setup, interesting characters and exciting adventures. The aliens are creative and well-drawn and the whole concept of the hospital and its working really intrigued me. There is translation equipment for all patients and s...more
You know, I was really enjoying this - pacifist SF is unusual, and it has some great aliens - and then, halfway through the second book of the omnibus, he drops a misogyny bomb. I'm sorry, but if you can imagine spider-like chlorine-breathing aliens being people but not human women, you fail not only at SF but also at realism. And (some) male writers were noticing that women were people in every period from classical history onwards, so 1963 is not an excuse.
Pamela Su
I highly recommend these books as they are wonderfully original in the world of sci-fi as they delve into a complex, alien medical universe. Not many interesting, medical sci-fi books out there. Think of it as a hybrid CSI/ER/Star Trek: DS9 set in space. Just an absolutely fantastic series to read.

The series, as a whole, is not without its flaws. There is a great deal of repetition. At times, whole paragraphs are regurgitated in most, if not all, the books with only minor adjustments when descri...more
Michael Battaglia
There are plenty of locales in fiction that seem like fun places to at least visit, if not live. There's everyone's favorite Middle-Earth, Jack Vance's Dying Earth, David Zindell's Neverness or even M John Harrison's Viriconium, places that are so well-realized that it seems a shame we can't pop over and hang out there for a bit.

Hospitals are probably the last places that ANYONE wants to visit just for kicks, so I have to give James White credit for making this one enticing at least. Sector Gene...more
Medical mysteries in spaaaaace. Think the TV show House, if all the patients were aliens and the main character was even more sexist. It's all quite a bit silly, and I'm not sure if I was meant to be taking it more seriously than I was. Come on, levitating dinosaurs?

This is tough book to rate, because some of the biological ideas are fantastic, but everything else is so dated; moreover, the whole thing is marred by bad, repetitive prose. The worst is the sexism, and the other little 1960s "it's...more
Thomas Arvanitis
Good, old-fashioned science fiction, focusing more on ideas and ingenious ways to solve problems than character development. Imagine a medical show (House MD/ER style without the soap opera, just with the diagnosis problems) set in space, with patients of alien origin of all shapes and sizes.
The Sector General series is one of my favourite series in the world, and while I love all three of the stories in this omnibus. Major operation was the first Sector General story I ever read, so I have a special soft spot for it, but it and the very first story, Hospital Station are actually the weakest in the series. They aren't really bad, its just they're early works (both in the series and the authors career) and so they're a little shaky. In Hospital Station especially there are a few deta...more
Fun and fast, this collection of the first three Sector General books is at once progressive and regressive. Progressive as it envisions an egalitarian future where wildly different species and races work together for the betterment of all, and regressive in it's attitudes towards women. The author seems determined to make us aware that his protagonists are real men who are rather distracted by the attractive nurses (no female doctors - at least not human doctors that is) and a healthy desire to...more
I had vague memories of liking the Sector General books as a kid and wanted to revisit them. I still think the entire concept of stories where the conflict is figuring out how to heal strange alien life forms instead of fighting them is great, and he did come up with a lot of very weird and interesting aliens. But looking at the books now, they're also terribly dated and awful about women and Conway is kind of an asshole, and the formula of him pulling the answers out of nowhere at the last minu...more
Frank Hofer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen Graham
Again, it's interesting to look at the changes in gender - Murchison written in 1971 is now of a comparable professional level to Conway. The novel also ends hurriedly, probably a word count limitation in the original magazine publication.

Overall, Sector General still works as basic space opera. The technology could use some updating but it could be published today with reasonable success.
Booknerd Fraser
Well, that took longer than I thought. I blame Tom Waits. I liked that weird-alien space opera aspect of the novels. I even didn't mind when his science (esp. with dinosaurs) was completely off the mark. My only real problems with stylistic - the prose was clearly dated, and he has a tendency to repeat information, even in the full novels that were not story collections.
May 30, 2008 Wesley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 50s-60s Sci-Fi Lovers
I love all the James White Sector General books. They are somewhat outdated now with their quaint ideas of future technoology. On the other hand, they have such an optimistic, kind, and humanistic view of mankind and our destiny that they are refreshing and nostalgic at the same time.
R.B. Harkess
Unfortunately, as with many older audiobooks, the production quality was so bad that I had to abandon the book. Unbalanced sound levels and excessive squeaking on the 'ss' sounds.

Not a reflection on the content of the book
Pure brain candy. If you are looking for a good fun sci-fi read this is the way to go. This series has a nice dash of biology thrown in as well.
Nancy Laney
Sector General: Books 1,2,3
Jay marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2014
Scott marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2014
Lena marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2014
Dana added it
Jul 20, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • David Falkayn: Star Trader (Technic Civilization 2)
  • Warlord (Raj Whitehall, #1-2)
  • The House of the Kzinti (Man-Kzin Wars)
  • Sunborn (The Chaos Chronicles, #4)
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Sixteenth Annual Collection
  • Ragamuffin (Xenowealth, #2)
  • The Hub: Dangerous Territory (The Hub)
  • Lady of Mazes
  • Empire From the Ashes (Dahak, #1-3)
  • A Plague of Demons & Other Stories
  • Star Corps (The Legacy Trilogy, #1)
  • Lord Of Thunder (Beast Master / Hosteen Storm, #2)
  • Choosing Names: Man-Kzin Wars 8 (Man-Kzin Wars, #8)
  • Dreamships
  • The Demon Princes
  • Starbridge (Starbridge, #1)
  • Voyager in Night (Age of Exploration, #2)
  • Fast Ships, Black Sails
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James White was a prolific Northern Irish author of science fiction novellas, short stories, and novels. He was born in Belfast and returned there after spending early years in Canada.

He is probably best-known as the author of the Sector General series of novels. The first...more
More about James White...
Hospital Station (Sector General, #1) Star Surgeon (Sector General, #2) Ambulance Ship  (Sector General, #4) Major Operation (Sector General, #3) The Galactic Gourmet (Sector General, #9)

Share This Book