Turtledove, Harry - Colonization 02 - Down to Earth by Turtledove Harry

Turtledove, Harry - Colonization 02 - Down to Earth by Turtledove Harry

Author:Turtledove, Harry [Turtledove, Harry]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, War, United States, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction, Alternate History, Military
ISBN: 0345430239
Amazon: B000FBFOS2
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 2002-01-08T00:00:00+00:00

Reuven Russie had thought he knew a good deal about medicine. His father was a doctor, after all; he’d had the benefit of insight and training no one starting from scratch could hope to equal. And he’d attended the Moishe Russie Medical College, learning things from the Race that human physicians wouldn’t have discovered for themselves for generations. If that didn’t prepare him for practice, what could?

After his first few hectic weeks of working with his father, he began to wonder if anything could have prepared him for the actual work of medicine. Moishe Russie laughed when he complained about that, laughed and remarked, “The Christians say, ‘baptism by total immersion.’ That’s what you’re going through?”

“Don’t I know it?” Reuven said. “The medicine itself isn’t all that different from what I thought it would be. The diagnostic tests work the same way, and the results are pretty clear, even if the lab you use isn’t as good as the one attached to the college.”

“Isn’t it?” Moishe Russie’s eyebrows rose in surprise.

“Not even close,” Reuven told him. “Of course, the technicians are only human.” He didn’t realize how disparaging that sounded till he’d already said it.

Now his father’s laugh held a wry edge. “You’d better get used to dealing with human beings, son. We mostly do the best we can, you know.”

“Yes, I do,” Reuven said. He glanced around his father’s office, where they were talking. It was a perfectly fine place, with palm trees swaying in the breeze just outside the window; with Moishe Russie’s diplomas, one of them in the language of the Race, in frames on the wall; with shelves full of reference books; with a gleaming microscope perched on a corner of the desk.

And yet, to Reuven’s eyes, it was as if he’d fallen back through time a century, maybe even two. The plaster on the walls was uneven and rough. It was at home, too, but he noticed it more here because he contrasted it to the smooth walls of the Moishe Russie Medical College. The microscope seemed hopelessly primitive next to the instruments he’d used there. And books . . . He enjoyed reading books for entertainment, but electronics were much better for finding information in a hurry. His father had access to some electronics, but didn’t display them where his patients could see them. He didn’t seem to want people to know he used such things.

That was part of the problem Reuven had been having in adjusting: pretending to know less than he did. The other part lay in the patients themselves. He burst out, “What do I do about the little old men who come in every other week when there’s nothing wrong with them? What I want to do is boot them out on the street, but I don’t suppose I can.”

“No, not really,” Moishe Russie agreed. “Oh, you could, but it wouldn’t do you much good. They’d come back anyhow: either that or they’d go bother some other doctor instead.”

“I’ve been looking over the files,” Reuven said.


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