I am trying to remember the Title and Author of a SF novel that I thought was written in the 1970s or 1980s.

The plot thumbnail/thesis is the protagonist is hired to help retrieve/save valuable employees from large corporations. The catch is that these employees have been implanted with destructive devices. It is very difficult to snatch such employees without their current companies finding out about it. If the companies find out, they activate the implanted devices, rendering the previously valuable employees useless/dead. Removing and deactivating the implanted devices is a tricky and dangerous maneuver.

I thought that the author was Gibson, and the title Neuromancer, but reading the plot summary of that book, I discovered I am wrong.

Please help me recall the title and author of the book whose plot thumbnail/thesis I give above.


3 Answers 3


You might not be far off. Your description sounds like Count Zero, the sequel to Neuromancer. From Wikipedia (contains spoilers):

In the southwestern USA, Turner, a corporate mercenary soldier, has been hired out to help Christopher Mitchell, a brilliant researcher and bio-hacker, make an illegal career move from Maas' corporate fortress built into a mesa in the Arizona desert to another corporation. The attempt is a disaster, and Turner ends up escaping with the scientist's young daughter, Angie Mitchell instead. Her father had apparently altered her nervous system to allow her to access the Cyberspace Matrix directly, without a "deck" (a computer), but she is not conscious of this. She also carries the plans, implanted in her brain by her father, of the secrets of construction of the extremely valuable "biosoft" that has made Maas so influential and powerful. This "biosoft" is what multibillionaire Josef Virek (see thread three) desires above all else, so that he can make an evolutionary jump to something resembling omniscience and immortality.

Gibson also explored this idea in New Rose Hotel, a short story appearing in the Burning Chrome anthology.


Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling had this as the main (albeit hidden until the end) plot.

Kind of, 4 people had explosive devices on them or in them and they use the interference of 'heavy weather' (I don't want to spoil it) to safely remove them.

Also since Sterling and Gibson both wrote cyberpunk this may be the one you are thinking of.


I can't remember the book but Jack Williamson had a guy in it that had a bomb locked around his neck in a fashion similar to that described. It would explode if tinkered with or if he got too far away from the lab on the space station (maybe).

They smuggled in a talented surgeon who detached his head and reattached it without triggering the bomb. So he got away. It seems like there was some amazing place they did the surgery, too.

Seems like it was part of a multibook series that I read at least back in the 70's. Maybe before. (Since he started writing in 1928 and stopped just before his death in 2006, that leaves a lot of possibles.)

  • I think this was part of the Humanoids series, but I don't think it matches the question.
    – fectin
    Commented Jan 22 at 2:11

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