I remember reading in my youth a science fiction story (I think it was a short, otherwise I would have more details) about a ship that ran on people's brains (multiple brains) the ship saved the bodies in storage with the heads stuffed with electronics, so that when the people were to be "rewarded" or interact with people from other ships the ship could give them remote control of a body (brain still wired into ship)

I feel like there was piracy involved.

well I know i read it between 1988-1992 but i think the book is earlier than that because of the cabinet i pulled it from in my dads basement. it was filled with Sci-Fi from the 70's through the 80s     
I also remember the characters being allowed in the story to use their bodies to sit at a formal dinner, (I believe on the ship that their brains were running) To host a guest (maybe from another ship?)

  • Do you remember when you read it? Maybe when it was published? Can I suggest you take a look at this guide to see if you can edit in any more details.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 21:37
  • You can edit all the details into your answer. That may help people find it.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 6:26

2 Answers 2


There is a series called the AI War written by Stephen Ames Berry. In the third book Final Assault an ancient Imperial warship known as a mind slaver figures prominently. These ships are piloted and crewed by enslaved human brains. One of these ships called Alpha Prime is commanded by former corsair Kotran. He is by this point brainstripped. There is a scene during the story where he throws a formal dinner for visiting guests. Alpha Primes officers attend in their saved bodies minus the brains. On this same ship brainstripped Marines are used to repel boarders. After centuries in a brain pod getting your body back, even to fight is a reward.

  • You have done it.. It sounded right, and when I looked it up I immediately recognized the cover. Thank you so much. I am trying to decide whether to let it live in my brain as is, or reread it.
    – The_wookie
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 2:49

I've not read the AI War series but I remember a similar concept was explored in the Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey - 1969 which I think may have subsequently given rise to the Brain & Brawn series

  • 2
    Yes, "The Ship Who Sang" was the story that led to the "Brain and Brawn" series, which they ruled out.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 14:01

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