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Med Ship

(Med Service #1,2,3,4)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  594 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Scattered through the galaxy are thousands of worlds colonized by humans. Many have native microbes dangerous to the human immigrants. Others have diseases brought to them accidentally -- or on purpose -- by visiting ships. When millions of lives are threatened, it's a job for the Interstellar Medical Service, and a Med Ship is sent to solve the problem. Calhoun is the ...more
Paperback, Omnibus, 640 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Baen Books
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  594 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was in the free bin at the library and I picked it up because I had read some of the stories in the book when they first appeared in magazines. As a teenager, I liked the puzzle solving but now, rereading these after nearly fifty years in some cases, I value the underlying perspectives about altruism, the futility of war and the use of creative thinking to resolve conflicts.
Joe Martin
Jun 07, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the stories but it's a bit hard for me to read an entire anthology of one author. The individual stories are good but after a while it's hard to read the same thing over and over.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of short stories originally published back in the 1950's. They are among the very first SciFi stories about Doctors in Space, a genre which is popular among many.

I found these stories to be quite enjoyable, and easy to read. It was like each story was written with a moral in mind, much like modern fables. They don't feature medicine, per se, they are more about basic human struggles and coping mechanisms, and how one man, the lead character, Calhoun, and his alien
MeiLin Miranda
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
As an historical read, this comes close to essential--if only to see how far the genre has come both in writing competency and attitudes toward women. Holy cats, there were times...

Nevertheless, the relationship between the Med Ship man Calhoun and his tormal Murgatroyd (the likeable member of the duo), is fun. Some of the puzzles Calhoun faces are quite interesting. And the blending of medical drama with sci-fi, possibly for the first time here, is very "peanut-butter-cuppy," if you know what I
Jessie J
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Someone else wrote, "I have a thing for medical science fiction;" well, me too. I really liked the book, although the writing was not the greatest, the predicted "science" was awful (animalcules, I ask you), and it was terribly sexist. But as a period piece, it was just wonderful. Most of the movie in my head when I read it was a mix of a Buster Crabbe "Buck Rogers" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

That's really all I can say. It's not for everyone.
Dave Law
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read. A nice collection of stories about a doctor and his adventures in space. I know others have commented that these seem dated, I thought they held up better than some of his other stories and it didn't detract from my enjoyment of them.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of stories that follow the adventures of Calhoun and his assistant Murgatroyd, a Tormal. In the future humanity has spread far and wide with many different governments and cultures having came into existence over the hundreds of years of expansion. Since no one government controls everything the Med Service, kind of a galactic Red Cross, was created to be an impartial entity that serves the purpose of keeping human kind healthy and up to date on the latest and
Steve Rainwater
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The complete collection of Leinster's Medical Service stories.

Leinster wrote many Med Service stories and there is now a confusing assortment of incomplete books. This large volume is the only book that I'm aware of containing a complete collection of the Med Service stories. If you have this book, you don't need any other Med Service / Med Ship books, it's all here. Plus this is a fairly recent printing so it's also likely you can still find a copy easily.

The Medical Service is an organization
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably closer to 3.5 stars.
Interesting stories. These certainly can not be read one after the other as they are repetitive.
They could be the basis of a good graphic novel series.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Med Ship by Murry Leinster is a collection of short stories about a roving doctor Calhoun and his alien companion Murgatroyd. I downloaded this on a whim from the Baen free ebook library as a filler book in case I finished reading all the books I’d purchased from them whilst away tbh I wish I’d read this first. At the end of the collection is a note from Jim Baen who describes how Murry Leinster pioneered the field of science fiction and is responsible for a number of the common tropes we see in ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, baen
I really enjoy reading these books which are actually "historical science fiction". Items which are high-tech in the author's era are made to reach ultra-high-tech in the book - the one that I remember is the voice recorder, which was a miniature reel device. The author would have had no idea that this would be superceded by solid-state devices.

However, I'm sure Leinster has been a source of inspiration for many of the more modern authors. For instance, it certainly feels that the treecat in
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Series of stories about a physician named Calhoun and his sidekick, quaintly named Murgatroyd. Murgatroyd is an alien called a Tormal and is really just a lab animal. But he is cute and lovable one and who makes the stories very enjoyable.

The characters are one dimensional. Especially Calhoun, who even seems to have only one name. We learn nothing of his background and he has very little emotion. We are told nothing of Murgatroyd's home planet. But the medical mysteries that are solved by
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
F.Scott Fitzgerald reading Calhoun and his alien companion Murgatroyd travel the galaxy solving inventive medical mysteries with a fast moving prose style from Leinster. Some of the dialogue is a bit heavy handed, but the action moves at a fast clip. I was drawn to the details of interstellar travel, especially the hazards of space travel as presented by Leinster. The invention of the tormal, Murgatroyd, adds humor and is a unique science fiction creation.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is actually a collection of stories about Calhoun, a "Med Ship Man" and his counterpart Murgatroyd, a furry creature know as a Tormal. The stories were originally written in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was a very interesting look at some of the early SciFi writing, and fun to see how some of the themes have carried on into today's writing. If you are into old school SciFi, then this is for you.
Kevin Connery
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Collection of 1950's-1960's Medical Service stories, where Doctor Calhoun and his biological lab (and pet) travel from planet to planet solving problems--not all of them medical.

Surprisingly undated, save for a couple of technology references, and with a solid set of plots and mysteries. Weak to no characterization, other than demonstrating that Calhoun has fewer emotions than Mr Spock.

Nice storytelling overall.
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-ebook, fiction-sf
A collection of shorter stories - I expect they were never intended to be read in a single go, as there's a lot of repetition of some basic facts near the start of each one. Interesting, but be prepared to accept it as a product of its time, with the way it handles technology (tapes!) and women (little dears who shouldn't do anything as strenuous as thinking!)
Harry Lane
Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Book is a series of connected SF short stories, in which the principal character is presented with situations in which he has to cope with potentially deadly threats with no resources beyond those contained in his ship and his own wits. Very clever plotting and effective narrative make for entertaining reading.
Phil Cowin
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was one I picked up from Baen books in the free ebook section, and I truthfully expected it to be crap. I am glad I was wrong

It's full of interesting dilemmas, and interesting solutions to solve them. I've even used the Road Building crisis one in real life :D It's great fun.

I can't believe it was written over 50 years ago!
Matt Kelland
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Thoroughly enjoyable, old-school sci-fi medical stories. These paved the way for such classics as James White's hospital ship stories, and of course the obligatory doctor characters in series like Star Trek.

The Kindle formatting is irritating, though; italics are inconsistent, sometimes changing mid-word. Still, it was free, so I'm not complaining.
Jay Sprenkle
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book collects the stories about the Med Ships. They are the emergency medical technicians in the rocket age. The author explorers a unique area and does it well. The stories are well plotted, well paced, the mysteries are interesting, and I liked the characters. A fun read especially if you're looking for something a little different.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it

The complete Med Ship saga--"The Mutant Weapon, Doctor to the Stars, This World Is Taboo, " and "S.O.S. from Three Worlds"--is collected in this one paperback volume. (August)

Aug 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Collection of short stories. No medicine involved, really: each tale is about a roving doctor (with a cute pet who serves as a diagnostic lab--shades of Nourse's STAR SURGEON)who encounters and deals summarily with greedy or otherwise bad guys.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
This collection is showing its age. I enjoyed these stories when I first read them in college, but they don't really hold up well. The flaws in the writing and the inconsistencies in the main character really interfered with my ability to enjoy the stories.
Brent Moffitt
Dec 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
Stopped at page 94. Did not like it at all.
Chris Gardner
I really could not get into this book. Too fast paced and pulpish. I might try again in the future.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks, unfinished
I downloaded this free from WebScriptions. Not bad, but the sci part of sci-fi didn't age well. Finished the first story and stopped.
Jeff Crosby
Jan 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wonderful collection of themed stories, mostly from the 1950s that feature Med Service man Calhoun and his tormal, Murgatroyd. I particularly liked Plague on Kyder II and The Grandfather's War.
Shane Cooper
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have a thing for medical science fiction and this is some of the earliest stuff.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In older collection, these stories are called "Doctor to the stars". It collects all the Med Ship books into one volume.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
A bit dated, but great for its time. Full of interesting stories that made for anwas an enjoyable read. It's humerous how some of the tech is advanced for its time, and some is not at all.
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see also:
Will F. Jenkins
William Fitzgerald Jenkins

Murray Leinster was a nom de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins, an award-winning American writer of science fiction and alternate history. He wrote and published over 1,500 short stories and articles, 14 movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays.

An author whose career spanned the first six decades of the 20th Century.

Other books in the series

Med Service (4 books)
  • S.O.S. from Three Worlds
  • The Mutant Weapon
  • Doctor to the Stars
  • This World Is Taboo