I don't remember much about the details of the story, but basically a military pilot agrees to transfer his consciousness into his spaceship (this is proposed to him as a top-secret military project), therefore making his spaceship his new "body". Initially he comments on how much easier it is to maneuver the ship, since he no longer has to worry about how his human body would react to the force of the maneuvers and because the response to his thoughts is instantaneous.

In the story humanity has been at war with an alien race for an extended amount of time, and part of the reason that this project is proposed is because humanity needs a way to explore alien territory. The guy eventually meets a weird "turtle-like" creature, which I think was a subjugated, unintelligent creature serving the initial, antagonistic race. I think he either learns to move into this creature's mind, or somehow allows this creature to carry him, and this allows him to explore the alien homeworld. He starts making observations about how aliens live and communicate...

That's all I remember about the book. I read this maybe some 15 years ago, and I think it must have been either a late 80s or early 90s book. Anybody got any ideas on what it is?

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    I don't understand. It takes two minds to mind-meld, right? So his ship had a mind for him to meld with? And how come he doesn't have to worry about what the forces do to his human body? You mean his human body isn't on board? His body is safe at home, while his mind is behind enemy lines, melded to his ship's mind?
    – user14111
    Oct 16, 2013 at 22:18
  • @user14111 I guess I mean his mind melds with his ship, it's literally fused into the ship. And yeah, when he does this he sacrifices his human body... he basically becomes his ship. I've edited the question so that it is a bit clearer.
    – vmlm
    Oct 17, 2013 at 0:49
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    I wonder how many people would willingly sacrifice their human form to live forever as the "brains" of a spaceship? To be honest, I'd be tempted... Oct 18, 2013 at 13:21
  • It is actually really interesting. I'm re-reading the book... and while it IS amusing to evaluate it from a solely literary and critical point of view, the premise and its development is really interesting, if incredible. But then again, what sci-fi DOESN'T require some level of suspension of logic in order to be appreciated?
    – vmlm
    Jan 4, 2014 at 17:58
  • @EugeneSeidel check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainship - most known of these novels is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ship_Who_Sang I guess; the topic is well-explored in scifi, maybe there are some theorethical studies on it too.. :)
    – kagali-san
    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


I believe the book you are referring to is called The Forever Man by Gordon R. Dickson.

The ancient starship La Chasse Gallerie is found drifting perilously in space. Despite heavy damage from alien Laagi warships, incredibly the ship is till intact and the voice of its pilot, Raoul Penard, comes through loud and clear. But Petard died over one hundred years ago On Earth, frantic investigation reveals that Petard may be dead but his mind is very much alive merged with the ship itself. The staggering potential of this evolutionary breakthrough compels the scientists to embark on a technological journey of astonishing discovery

  • Yes! Thanks a lot! I've been wanting to read this book again for a really long time.
    – vmlm
    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:17

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