What an interesting read, a novel written as imaginary documentary on a near future doctor’s career, following his path from childhood through medical school and training to eventual mixed fortunes as a robotically enhanced family practitioner. There is a depth of humanistic sentimental content, however it is future technology, not human behaviour that drives this book. The author is a retired medic who speculates the future of his profession. Gustafson brings a huge amount of personal experience of medicine and its politics to this fascinating story. His real knowledge gives real bite, a profound credibility and layered plausibility. His future ‘expectation’ is so well constructed that it is difficult at times to keep touch with the fact that we are reading of a future and not a ‘true’ life history. All the medical politics, economic constraints and technologies are already seen today in their infancy, such that very little of the science fiction seems implausible, fantastical, in 2018.
The writing is straight forward and accurate, while the plot is simple in design and yet rich with interesting detail. One might even say the book is predictable, but no less enjoyable for that. This fiction is written with almost a scientific efficiency, like a well written industrial report, with just enough of a veneer of character story to give a richness, a feeling of personal buy-in, of voyeuristic enjoyment, to the reading. I recommend this book to all who wonder about the future of medicine, and where it is taking both our medical practitioners and us all as hopeful patients. This is a fiction brim full of interest, with a backstory centred around the fears and ambitions of one particular doctor and his future long-suffering, wife; one particular doctor who may even now be considering a medical career. Gustafson has the skill to write speculation that reads as a medical future that is already established hard fact. Does this doctor actual exist, one who might possibly retire in say 2068?