Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What I remember from the plot:

In this short story, a man who suffers of anger management problems (probably on criminal levels, or in order to prevent them) gets an advanced, experimental treatment based on electrical stimuli directly to the brain.

These stimuli are controlled by a chip implanted in his brain; the position of the electric contacts is extremely important, because missing the exact point of the brain to control would lead to disastrous results.

The chip would detect "anger spikes" and would stimulate the brain in order to reduce them and prevent any anger explosion from the guy.

The problem is that, when the anger spike is prevented, it is kind of replaced by a pleasant sensation. This causes a feedback loop where the brain subcounsciosly tries to cause anger spikes to get pleasure in return.

This causes the frequency of these events to increase exponentially, until they are basically constant, leading to a result antipodal to the desired outcome. The man escapes the hospital before the doctor, who detected this feedback loop from his charts, can actually stop the treatment.

The man then tries to destroy the hospital computer, which is located in the basement, but he is stopped before he can do much damage.

Other information from the story

The story itself should have been written around the '70-'80, because the computer was as large as the room (the basement).

If you need any more information, please ask in the comments and I will try to answer as best as I can, and sorry for my english.

share|improve this question
up vote 14 down vote accepted

This sounds a lot like "The Terminal Man" (1972) by Michael Crichton. For the record, it was a full length (albeit short) novel, not a short story. Also, he's not attacking the computer because it's controlling his stimuli, he's attacking it because he's gone doo-lally.

The events in the novel take place between March 9 and March 13, 1971. Harold Franklin "Harry" Benson, a computer scientist (specializing in artificial intelligence) in his middle thirties, is described as suffering from psychomotor epilepsy[2] following a car crash he had endured in 1969. He often has seizures followed by blackouts, and then wakes up hours later with no knowledge of what he has done. During his seizures, he severely beats two people; the day before his admission, he had been arrested after attacking a third, a gas-station attendant. He is a prime candidate for an operation to implant electrodes in the amygdala region of his brain in order to control the seizures, which will be performed in the Neuro-Psychiatric Service of University Hospital. Two NPS surgeons, John Ellis and Robert Morris, are to perform the surgery, which is unprecedented for the time. In modern medicine, such a device would be called a neurostimulator; in the book, it is referred to as a 'brain pacemaker'.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, that seems to be it. I'll wait the customary 24 hours before accepting. :) – STT LCU Jan 17 at 22:48
"Brain peacemaker" – 11684 Jan 18 at 7:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.