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.
He had helped pay for his medical education by writing science fiction for magazines. After retiring from medicine, he continued writing. His regular column in Good Housekeeping magazine earned him the nickname “Family Doctor”. 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.
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.
He died on July 19, 1992, in Thorp, Washington.