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There was a sci-fi book a book I saw about 10 years ago, that featured a society of people where (I think) some chose to become parts of spacecraft. I was very young at the time so i only remember fragments of the story.

There was a girl who was one of these people and was a part of a ship. These people could talk through the ship but were sort of a part of the engine. I think near the end of the book, the ship crashes and the captain tried to save her, but didn't know where in the ship she was located. I think she guided him to her but it was difficult for her to survive outside of the space craft, I do not know if she died or not.

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    There is a whole list of works using this trope: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainship
    – vsz
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 12:47
  • An alternative answer could be the webcomic The Jain's Death by Patrick Farley, about a girl who dies and is reborn as a spaceship. Not sure how old it is, but probably at least ten years.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 17:26
  • I see the right answer has been found already, but the computer game Homeworld also happens to match, where a protagonist "was integrated into the Mothership".
    – Letharion
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 6:32
  • Just a comment because I can't remember the full details ... There was a series of books by Bruce Bretthauer (not sure of the spelling) titled Family Wars......about a ost colony where nearly all the men die so women do everything.. anyways they have starships with implanted brains and the girls volunteer for this.....one book in particular titled something like "Moriponi's Children"
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 21:03

4 Answers 4

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This might be very well one of the Brain&Brawn series (by Anne McCaffrey et.al.). I have just read the first (and most famous) installement The Ship who Sang.

The "brain" in the series name refers to a human brain (I think in the series it's mostly girls/womens brains) that command a starhip, the "brawn" is a crewmember/companion who does the things that require walking around.

In The Ship Who Sang the brains are selected from handicapped infants (as an alternative to being euthanized), but at least one later volume has a older child consciously choosing a career as brainship.

Can't remember anything about a crash, but "The Ship who Sang" is probably the most prominent example of the "brainship" trope, so if you're interested in that idea the series might be worth a look in any case.

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    That's it!! Thank you so much :)
    – Archer_z
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 12:00
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    @Archer_z Don't forget to accept the answer. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 12:07
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    One of the later sub-stories in SWS, is about the ship crashing on a planet.
    – SteveED
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 16:56
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    Except they aren't build into the ship. They have a life support capsule that normally remains in the ship but it's not actually part of the ship--it can be removed if need be. And that girl who chose the brainship path did so because she became a quadriplegic. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 19:18
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This sounds like the story 'Weather' from the short story collection 'Galactic North' by Alastair Reynolds. In the story, a Conjoiner female (Weather) is discovered on a ship, and taken back to the ship of the boarders. There Weather reveals that the Conjoiner starship engines contain a human brain. The brain is failing, and Weather allows herself to be merged with the machine, fixing the problem.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_North

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Eike Pierstorff's answer is entirely correct - that is the Brainship series (sometimes known as Brain & Brawn). The scene you described is probably from the third book in the series: The Ship Who Searched, which happens to be my favorite of them.

In the scene in question, the captain (the brawn) had left his ship to observe a group, and the ship (the brain) got buried under an avalanche while he was gone. When he tried to get back, he got lost, and had to be navigated back to her. I think he also got stuck in the snow tunnel and she had to keep talking to keep him from losing it, but it's been a while and I'm not certain.

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  • The question suggests the captain is trying to find the girl within the ship, not trying to find the ship and the girl inside.
    – Jontia
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 21:00
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    @Jontia - You're right about how the question is written, but since the OP commented on the other answer to say that it was it (even if they didn't give it the checkmark), I think that distinction can just be ascribed to unclear memory.
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 2:21
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Sounds like "Light" by M. John Harrison (2002)

A 13-year-old girl (Seria Mau) merges with a ship. She is both the pilot and the vessel. Her body lives in an aquarium like tank on board but no longer functions in most respects.

In M. John Harrison’s dangerously illuminating new novel, three quantum outlaws face a universe of their own creation, a universe where you make up the rules as you go along and break them just as fast, where there’s only one thing more mysterious than darkness.

In contemporary London, Michael Kearney is a serial killer on the run from the entity that drives him to kill. He is seeking escape in a future that doesn’t yet exist—a quantum world that he and his physicist partner hope to access through a breach of time and space itself. In this future, Seria Mau Genlicher has already sacrificed her body to merge into the systems of her starship, the White Cat. But the “inhuman” K-ship captain has gone rogue, pirating the galaxy while playing cat and mouse with the authorities who made her what she is. In this future, Ed Chianese, a drifter and adventurer, has ridden dynaflow ships, run old alien mazes, surfed stellar envelopes. He “went deep”—and lived to tell about it. Once crazy for life, he’s now just a twink on New Venusport, addicted to the bizarre alternate realities found in the tanks—and in debt to all the wrong people.

Haunting them all through this maze of menace and mystery is the shadowy presence of the Shrander—and three enigmatic clues left on the barren surface of an asteroid under an ocean of light known as the Kefahuchi Tract: a deserted spaceship, a pair of bone dice, and a human skeleton.

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    Can you explain why you believe it matches?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 18:08
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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you edit your answer to provide some more specific information (or better, quotes) from the story so it's possible to see how it matches the question? It's also useful to add important/memorable details not mentioned in the question that might trigger OP's memory.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 18:08
  • It's worth noting that the OP has already indicated via a comment that Eike Pierstorff's answer of the Brain & Brawn Ship series by Anne McCaffrey is correct. Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 18:33
  • That seems like a close enough match to get my upvote, even if we already know it's not the right answer. Incorrect, but matching, answers can help other querents.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 22:10

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