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Alan E. Nourse

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Alan E. Nourse
Nourse c. 1954
Nourse c. 1954
BornAlan Edward Nourse
(1928-08-11)August 11, 1928
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
DiedJuly 19, 1992(1992-07-19) (aged 63)
Thorp, Washington, U.S.
Pen nameDoctor X
OccupationNovelist, physician
Alma materRutgers University
University of Pennsylvania
GenreScience fiction
SubjectMedicine, science
SpouseAnn Morton (1952–?)

Alan Edward Nourse (/nɜːrs/;[1] August 11, 1928 – July 19, 1992) was an American science fiction writer and physician. He wrote both juvenile and adult science fiction, as well as nonfiction works about medicine and science. His SF works sometimes focused on medicine and/or psionics.

His most notable pen name was Doctor X.[2] He used this pseudonym when writing for a medical column in a science fiction magazine, allowing him to combine his expertise in medicine with his passion for science fiction.


Alan Nourse was born August 11, 1928, to Benjamin and Grace (Ogg) Nourse in Des Moines, Iowa. He attended high school in Long Island, New York. He served in the U.S. Navy after World War II. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951 from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He married Ann Morton on June 11, 1952, in Linden, New Jersey. He received a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania. He served his one-year internship at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle and practiced medicine in North Bend, Washington, from 1958 to 1963 and also pursued his writing career.[citation needed]

He had helped pay for his medical education by writing science fiction for magazines.[3] After retiring from medicine, he continued writing. His regular column in Good Housekeeping magazine earned him the nickname "Family Doctor".[citation needed]

He was a friend of fellow author Avram Davidson. Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1964 novel Farnham's Freehold to Nourse. Heinlein in part dedicated his 1982 novel Friday to Nourse's wife Ann.[4]

His novel The Bladerunner lent its name to the Blade Runner movie, but no other aspects of its plot or characters (which were taken from Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). In the late 1970s an attempt to adapt The Bladerunner for the screen was made, with Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs commissioned to write a story treatment; no film was ever developed but the story treatment was later published as the novella Blade Runner (a movie).

He died on July 19, 1992, in Thorp, Washington.

Selected works[edit]

[clarification needed]

Nourse's novella "Martyr" was cover-featured on the January 1957 issue of Fantastic Universe
Nourse's novella "Gold in the Sky" was the cover story for the September 1958 issue of Amazing Stories
A novella-length version of Nourse's Star Surgeon was the cover story for the December 1959 issue of Amazing Stories
Nourse's novelette "The Mirror" was cover-featured on the June 1960 issue of Fantastic

Short stories[edit]


  • "High Threshold" (published in the March 1951 issue of Astounding)
  • "The Universe Between" (published in the September 1951 issue of Astounding)


  • Trouble on Titan (1954)
  • A Man Obsessed (1955)
  • Rocket to Limbo (1957)
  • Gold in the Sky (1958)
  • Scavengers in Space (1958)
  • The Invaders Are Coming! (1959, with co-author J. A. Meyer)
  • Star Surgeon (1959)
  • Raiders from the Rings (1962)
  • The Universe Between (1965, a fix-up of "High Threshold" and "The Universe Between" )
  • The Mercy Men (1968, revised version of A Man Obsessed)
  • The Bladerunner (1974)
  • The Practice (1978)
  • The Fourth Horseman (1983)


Nonfiction books[edit]

  • So You Want to Be a Doctor (1957)
  • Nine Planets (1960, revised edition 1970)
  • So You Want to Be a Nurse (1961)
  • The Body (Life Science Library) (1965, revised edition 1981)
  • Intern (1965, under the pseudonym Doctor X)
  • Universe, Earth and Atom: The Story of Physics (1969)
  • Venus and Mercury: a First Book (1972)
  • The Backyard Astronomer (1973)
  • The Giant Planets: a First Book (1974, revised edition 1982)
  • The Asteroids: a First Book (1975)
  • Viruses: a First Book (1976, revised edition 1982)
  • Hormones: an Impact Book (1979)
  • Herpes: an Impact Book (1985)
  • AIDS: an Impact Book (1986)
  • The Elk Hunt (1986)
  • Teen Guide to Safe Sex (1990)
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (1992)
  • The Virus Invaders: a Venture Book (1992)


  1. ^ "An Ounce of Cure By Alan E. Nourse" narrated by Tom Trussel
  2. ^ Alan E. Nourse at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  3. ^ "Alan E. Nourse" Archived 2006-06-15 at the Wayback Machine. Books 'n' Bytes (booksnbytes.com). Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  4. ^ Heinlein, Robert A (1984). Friday. New England Library. ISBN 0-450-05549-3.

External links[edit]