Galactic Minds
by Clem Masloff
BookVenture Publishing

"All that this patient had told him qualified as signs of the Hermes Archetype. The signs were many and clearly evident to the analyst."

Aboard the orbiting hospital ship Hygea, a group of doctors and psychologists travel from planet to planet, offering medical services from across the galaxy, including some which are not normally available on each world. At every stop, patients are ferried onboard to receive treatment, and doctors visit to learn new methods and medications to employ in their practices. Dr. Mead Quort, of the planet Ghain, has just begun a position as a psychoanalyst with the Hygea’s team. Practicing in a Jungian, archetype-driven method, he quickly fits into place with his supervisor, Dr. Soro Rimny, who also uses the same ideas. As they visit distant planets, Mead and his co-workers face unique cases that they must do their best to resolve before it is time for the Hygea to visit the next location.

As Mead and his team resolve a widespread insomnia situation on the planet Abraxas, one of the local doctors makes a plea to the director of the Hygea to hire for the ship and remove from the planet a psychoanalyst named Dr. Bax Muh. Muh is a loose cannon, who follows his own ideas and standards separate from those of his contemporaries. Abraxas is both hopeful that they can return to normalcy without Muh and that the trained professionals on the Hygea can tame his wilder impulses. Each destination provides the psychoanalysts aboard with a new puzzle to solve, and Muh complicates things with a hidden desire for power and recognition. Aware of his schemes but not able to reprimand his actions, Rimny and Quort are spread thin between a rotating list of patients and threats from within by Muh and his growing number of cohorts.

This book is a compilation of four successive stories, each revolving around a particular planet and how its patients look for relief on the Hygea. While a full crew and a staff of 50 doctors including pharmacists occupy the Hygea, most of the story is told through one-on-one sessions between each of the key psychoanalysts in the book and their patients, with group consultations reviewing the data. The result is an entertaining blend of Jungian psychology, human drama, and science fiction that is truly one-of-a-kind. The science fiction elements are mostly relegated to the ship itself, and readers are not expected to learn the names and details of alien races or complicated technology with no analog to the real world. Instead, each story isolates a specific planet and particular type of emotional malady that its people suffer, creating airtight, almost episodic content that is easy to understand and digest. That same episodic nature gives the whole book the feel of a television show, where character development is less important than establishing the status quo, despite a growing antagonistic presence that must come to a head.

Most of the characters on the Hygea are enjoyable and fun to read about, the exceptions being those with villainous intent that the reader will want to see taken down. Using a tightly defined, chapter-based narrative, this book is easy to read in chunks or set down at a moment’s notice to come back to later without feeling lost. The space setting is almost an embellishment that lends excitement to an otherwise personal series of dramas revolving around psychoanalysis. Giving readers a glimpse into the kinds of different minds out there and what motivates them or holds them back, this is an entertaining and insightful story that gives readers just the right amount of detail.

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