I read this eons ago. It was a sort of SF police procedural where the detectives had machines that could capture the last thoughts of a recently deceased human. The term was to deadbrain someone.

  • Sounds a lot like the basis for the SyFy series, Stitchers -- except they called it stitching and had to send an operative's mind into the dead person's memories.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 14:26
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    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 14:26
  • I would not call Stitchers a police procedural, although some of the plots can be similar. And you don't have to use the past tense with it. There's a new episode due tonight (on Freeform, not SyFy). This question is crying out for more details. The one thing of which we can be sure is that the procedure is called deadbrain. And there needs to be some kind of similarity to a police procedural. More details would really help narrow things down. I made a suggestion, but I'm not that confident in it.
    – Brythan
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 23:40

2 Answers 2


This may not be what you're looking for (the one notable count against it is that I can't recall the term "deadbraining"), but Blue Limbo by Terence M Green (Amazon link) at least explores similar themes. It's a police story setting in an unspecified near future in Canada. The title comes from a device that can bring the dead back to life - for a limited period of time, allowing them to share any information they might have on their deaths.

  • I also have been trying to find this work. The word "deadbraining" was definitely involved. A specially trained police officer used the device to read the last thoughts of the deceased. The deceased remained deceased. As I recall there was a personality transfer at the end.
    – oiojes
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 17:24

James Schmitz used the term dead-brain in A Tale of Two Clocks (originally published in 1962), which was also known as Legacy. I would not describe it as a police procedural. It's closer to being a spy novel. Its law enforcement was more of the counter-intelligence sort. This was part of his Hub universe (Trigger Argee is the main character), so the term may have been used in other stories which fit better.

Example usage:

The Commissioner looked at her. "Grab it was the dead-brain report."

This was Commissioner Holati Tate talking to Trigger Argee. Schmitz wasn't much of one for explaining technical matters, but the basic idea was that they could hook a dead person's brain up to some kind of mind reading system. The Hub also had mind reading of living brains, so this wasn't so outre. It's possible that dead-braining was done by a human being or by a psionic machine.

Eric Flint edited a release of the complete works of Schmitz in seven volumes. Four of them involved Hub stories. Trigger & Friends included A Tale of Two Clocks.

In my opinion, Schmitz is worth reading even if it turns out not to be the story you want. Trigger & Friends should be available in most library systems and is a reasonable starting point. It happens around the same time as the stories in Telzey Amberdon and before those in Telzey 'n' Trigger.

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