The White Papers

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In this detailed account of the career of science fiction writer James White, all aspects of his writing life are covered, from his humble beginnings as the Editorial Assistant of the fanzine SLANT and co-founder of Irish Fandom, to a Hugo nominee and the Guest of Honor at the 1996 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. A wide variety of James White’s writing are presented here, from “House Sitter,” a never-before published ghost story about a man who takes up his psychiatrist’s offer to stay at his abandoned country mansion, only to discover it haunted by a pleasant, television-watching ghost, to a variety of anecdotes stemming from White’s experiences at science fiction conventions and with other writers and fans. The early days of SLANT and Irish Fandom are discussed in detail, and several pieces of James White’s nonfiction are reprinted here from the fanzine HYPHEN. The book ends with a listing of all alien species acronyms from the Sector General series, including typos.

Fiction stories included in the book are “Custom Fitting,” a story about a small business tailor that is asked by the government to design a series of outfits for an alien ambassador; “Commuter,” a story about a dying lonely old woman waiting for the return of her time-traveling husband; “House Sitter,” “Sanctuary,” where an alien stranded on Earth after a crash-landing is taken in by a group of Catholic nuns and is given sanctuary from the media and the military; and “Christmas Treason,” a story written from the perspective of a group of telekinetically/psychically advanced children trying to find out where Santa Claus lives. There are also four Sector General stories included here, with a “secret history” of the space hospital as a preface to the section.