It's a science fiction book from the seventies or likely earlier. I might not remember it entirely correctly but the premise was that after someone dies their brain is harvested and wired into a computer to be used as a supercomputer. No one realizes that this actually brings the brains back into consciousness, the assumption was that being dead they are just being used as biocomputers. The huge pressure to solve mathematical problems drives the brains insane. The main character wakes up in this situation but is somehow able to push the pressure aside. Through telepathy he's able to find another brain in this situation and eventually somehow transfers his mind back into the body of a regular person and escape.

Any help in identifying this would be appreciated - I would love to read it again.


  • Do any of the books listed under the literature section of TVTropes.org's Wetware CPU section sound familiar?
    – Trish Ling
    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:09
  • Did you read it in English? On the Isolated brains in fiction list on wikipedia they mention a series called "Humans as Gods" featuring an alien society called the "Ruinators" that used harvested brains as organic computers, and one developed self-consciousness and was eventually granted a body, but the series' own wikipedia page says it has yet to be published in English.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:44
  • It has some elements in common with 'Destination: Void', (disembodied brains used as computers and going nuts) but there's no Telepathy and redemption/escape for the brains..
    – K-H-W
    Jan 12, 2015 at 3:54
  • 1
    Basic plot is pretty similar to "A Plague Of Demons" by Keith Laumer. Except that a few of the human brains retain their sanity, and since the brains are being used as computers in massive tanks to fight the alien's war . . . It all turns out unpleasantly for the brain-stealing race. Jun 29, 2015 at 6:26

1 Answer 1


As in this answer, this is probably The Cybernetic Brains (1969) by William F. Jones.

Book Cover - The Cybernetic Brains

It was a supercivilization, a Utopia. At its core were the Cybernetic Brains, brains taken from geniuses who were promised they would live forever.

Then engineer Al Demming discovers the truth accidentally, the terrible truth transmitted to him by one of the brains. The brains are in reality slaves and in terrible torment. It was now up to Demming to stop the inhuman practice.

Just when he planned to make the announcement to the Governing Board, Demming learned that the Board knew about the hideous living death. What was the real reason behind the facade? How could he convince the Board to suspend the system before the Brains revolted and destroyed the world?

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