Prostho Plus by Piers Anthony
(from the back of the book)
What’s keeping you from your grand tour of the universe? Are you afraid of being caught out in the vastness of space with a painful cavity and no one capable of fixing it? Well fear not – the galaxy is simply teeming with dentists!
For Dr. Dillingham, dentist of Earth, it was the shock of his life – captures by aliens, forced to fix a strange cavity in an even stranger mouth; them whisked off to deep space. But luckily for the good dentist, Dillingham discovered that he liked zooming about the galaxy, solving unprecedented problems and making new and decidedly different acquaintances. And when he was offered the chance to apply to the Galactic University of Dentistry as Earth’s first (and only) applicant, Dillingham had a choice to make: go back to his safe little world of bored housewives and miles of braces, or make a mark for mankind among the teeth of the stars.
It was really no choice at all.
This is fun light reading. It starts off quickly, there is no long build up to lead us into the story but instead the doctor’s adventure starts right away. The quick start does get the book moving at a good pace but it also sends us off without knowing the characters very well. It is an interesting concept to look at galactic travel from the viewpoint of a dentist and Anthony does a great job of giving the good doctor a variety of mouths, teeth, and problems to work on. And Dillingham finds that there is much more to dentistry in space then he ever could have imagined as he finds himself mixed up in politics, being sold, being hunted and having to do some impromptu electrical work on robot teeth. Dillingham does tend to explain his procedures a lot at times and you get lessons on how to fill cavities or what happens when your occlusion is imperfect. It also sometimes reads like a public service announcement on the importance of brushing and flossing. But I think that adds to the fun of reading about a poor kidnapped Earth dentist who really cares about healthy teeth, no matter where they are found. It’s fun, short and moves quickly and is an interesting slant on the story of mankind’s first contact with alien life. It is well worth your time, especially if you are looking for something that is not too deep.