I recently had the memory of an old sci-fi novel come back to me (1970s or 1980s).

  • secret organization making thimble-sized biological computers to implant into wealthy and powerful people's heads

  • bio-comps would give people 95% memory playback on command

  • organization also used the bio-comps to implant post-hypnotic suggestions to the people being implanted, including suicide
  • bio-comps could also make "perfect assassins", since the implant could override human consciousness with another personality
  • main protagonist was the sister of a prostitute killed after a session with a politician recently implanted who accidentally revealed the surgical scar and post-hypnotic suggestions
  • protagonist took her dead sister's identity to find her killers
  • secondary protagonist was male hitman/cop/FBI agent whose hay fever medication prevented bio-comp from acting properly
  • couple managed to infiltrate the secret organization and get the woman implanted
  • novel was extremely heavy in sexual themes (i.e., the couple showers together, the protagonist's sister never wore a brassiere, etc.)
  • biologist inventor was sexually prolific, which is how the sister was able to get close to him (the woman able to play chess in her head while her body responded to the biologist in bed thanks to the biocomp)
  • couple managed to destroy secret organization by using main computer that programmed all the brain implants to send out the suicide suggestion to all implanted humans except themselves; this was done by land-line telephone to some implanted humans (a politician was one recipient)
  • 1
    Sounds like an interesting book. Hope someone can remember title.
    – beichst
    Dec 19, 2014 at 1:07
  • Definitely not Crown of Slaves, nor is it the March to the Stars series by Weber and Ringo (which has also has some elements in common). Feb 10, 2016 at 0:09
  • The concept reminds me of Whedon's Dollhouse (the TV Show).
    – SashaZd
    Sep 8, 2016 at 18:12
  • Was it in an anthology? Was it called "biological computer" word for word in the book? Any names of places you could remember?
    – Kinzle B
    Feb 5, 2017 at 9:54
  • Not a conclusion for your search, but i can offer a path for you to proceed with your search for references: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_and_Narrow_(The_Outer_Limits) Feb 24, 2017 at 2:58

3 Answers 3


The Master File by Richard Elliot

Book Cover

I'd been looking for this book myself and recently found it again.

Plot summary from Abebooks listing:

A biochip implanted in the brain gives the recipients increased mental powers, but they become the tools of a power-crazed billionaire who has found the technology to manipulate the chips and plans to take control of America, and then the world.

The inventor of the implant was named "Sean Carrick" and that the female protagonist had been programmed to love him. The antihistamine (or other cold medicine) interfered with that programming, hence the need for her to pretend (and mentally play chess).

  • Can you elaborate on how this book matches? I can't find much info about it online.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 1, 2017 at 12:27
  • I remembered 2 factors regarding the book. First, the inventor of the implant was named "Sean Carrick" and that the female protaganist had been programmed to love him - the antihistamine (or other cold medicine) interfered with that programming, hence the need for her to pretend (and mentally play chess). Second, Shortly after having read the book I'd found another book by the same author having something to do with stealing Einstein's brain. In the case of Richard Elliot, that book is "The Einstein Legacy" - also a good read.
    – Azurite609
    Mar 1, 2017 at 12:33
  • I'll tentatively say this is the answer. sf-encyclopedia.com has "Richard Elliott" listed as two people, Elton Thomas Elliott and Richard E Geis, working together. The book is listed as published in 1986. Thanks for the answer!
    – jhpace1
    Mar 21, 2017 at 10:40

Some aspects of this sound similar to the mental programming described in the Crown of Slaves by David Weber - part of the Honorverse. However, other aspects seem to rule this out as the answer.

In favor:

  1. Put in place by a virus/nanites
  2. Not detectable unless you know what you're looking for and before it degrades
  3. The secret organization is the "inner circle" conspiracy of the Mesa Alliance
  4. Someone's loved one was so programmed and tried to kill the "Queen" of Congo (similarly a junior officer tried to kill Honor herself)
  5. Family of the "Queen" of Congo performed undercover investigation
  6. He struck back at Mesa Alliance - Mesa Alliance detonated nuclear weapons on their own planet to try to kill him


  1. These weren't biocomps
  2. Antihistamines had nothing to do with it
  3. Not heavy with sexual themes
  4. This didn't happen on Earth


  • Not the story I was remembering. I've read many of David Weber's books in the Honorverse, and this story came out years or decades before.
    – jhpace1
    Mar 18, 2015 at 15:26
  • Yeah, your description was different enough from my answer that they only hope that this was right was if you mentally mixed 2 different stories. I provided the answer in the case it jarred loose other information. I am interested to see what other answers might pop up though. Sounds like an interesting read.
    – Jim2B
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:15
  • Sounds like it could have been one of Ted Mark's Man from O.R.G.Y. series
    – KenM
    Apr 4, 2015 at 3:48

It reminded me of Stephen Bury's "Interface" (yes Neal Stephenson) But there were too many differences.

Nothing else I searched helped much.

Have you looked through the listing of 1970s and 80s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:1970s_science_fiction_novels http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:1980s_science_fiction_novels

Its too many to check every one, but the titles helped me remember "Helstrom's Hive" and "The Adolescence of P-1"

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