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Looking for questions I could answer triggered one of my own. I read a 1970-ish book that I remember the jacket stating was the inspiration for the 6 Million Dollar Man, which is why I would have picked it up. I strongly recall it being called The Cyborg.

So I googled it, and sure enough, Google has a little blurb about Cyborg by Caiden, which claims to be the inspiration for the TV show. It talks about Steve Austin.

But the thing is, the book I read was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the TV show.

The book opens with the protagonist, definitely not Steve Austin, watching a falling star. He lives in a small village, I think in the English countryside (?) in the 1950s, but something is weird about the town.

Over time we learn he is actually an experiment; the world outside the village is teaming with people and falling apart, and they're hoping to breed a superhuman to solve all its problems. To do this, they want him to have the perfect upbringing, so they constructed an idyllic village at immense cost. By the end of the book...

...he's this gigantic floating brain and is completely out of control. When the President (of the World?) visits, the protagonist uses telepathy to stop the rotors, one-by-one, of the President's ten-rotor helicopter. The President saves the day by crashing into the brain.

I recall ending the book and thinking "what the hell did that have to do with cyborgs?!"

I also recall that all future transport was helicopter based, including one enormous example. We later learn the falling star of the opening scene was actually a helicopter coming in to land in a hidden area.

I don't want to read it again -it stank even as a tween- but now I'm really curious if this really was Caiden?

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    seems unlikely - even the subsequent Caiden "six million dollar man" sequel-ish books don't seem to have this level of the fantastical – NKCampbell Mar 20 '18 at 19:50
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This may be the 1970s novel by Joseph McElroy, Plus.

Plus is Joseph McElroy's fifth novel. Set in some unspecified future, it tells the story of Imp Plus, a disembodied brain controlling IMP, the Interplanetary Monitoring Platform, in earth orbit. The novel consists of Imp Plus's thoughts as he tries to comprehend his limited existence, while struggling with language, limited memories, and communicating with Ground Control. The plot is driven by Imp Plus's recall of fragments of his past and of language, his improving comprehension of his present, all while his medical condition gradually deteriorates.

  • No, no space in this one. But even just reading your answer I recalled additional examples, Niven wrote something like this for sure. – Maury Markowitz Mar 20 '18 at 21:04
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Another partially matching answer, The God Machine is an early novel (1968) by Martin Caidin that's about a bionic brain that starts taking things over.

The God Machine is a superbrain, a cybernetic computer triumph which can do everything except lie or fabricate (guess it couldn't make up a story like this, altho there are leaden stretches when it seems it could have). Anyway Steven Rand is chosen to program it only to find that this Frankenstein is ready to take over its own programming & programmers & kill them.

There also seems to be telekinesis, based on my quick skim of a PDF, but it's discussed as something possessed by a Russian scientist, and I don't see mention of the computer taking down the President's helicopter. Instead, The God Machine uses hypnosis, via flashes of light, to take things over.

  • Ohhh, this seems to be much more likely. I don't recall the programmer subplot, but I'll have to look if I can find a better synopsys. – Maury Markowitz Mar 21 '18 at 23:05
  • Darn, almost certainly not it. Only mentions helicopter three times, and mostly takes place underground. I'm looking over his other books now. – Maury Markowitz Mar 22 '18 at 0:04

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