This should be easy. I have the book around somewhere, but I can't remember the title or author. A scientist tries to upload his mind into an AI-equipped vacuum cleaner, but during the process the vacuum cleaner panics and disconnects, killing the scientist. Authorities charge the vacuum cleaner with murder and a lawyer spends most of the story trying to work up a defense. He is so preoccupied he ignores the condition of his dying wife.

  • 3
    +1 just for a title that made me simultaneously snort and doubt my eyesight. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 9:34
  • Believe it or not, until I clicked in, I had a different story in mind... different plotline overall, though.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 0:40
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    @JanusBahsJacquet I guess the person in charge of removing space debris from earth orbit could be called a vacuum cleaner?
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


This is The Modular Man by Roger MacBride Allen.

Per wikipedia:

The novel concerns the issue of personhood and what it takes to be considered a member of the moral universe. There are three main characters: Herbert the vacuum cleaner, who is modified by his owner, David Bailey, a scientist who specializes in figuring out how to "mindload". Mindloading is the act of a human downloading their mind into a machine. A successful mindload entails the death of the human. It is a way for humans to become immortal, if only in the form of vacuum cleaner.

The book begins with the arrest of Herbert, the vacuum cleaner, for David's murder. David's wife, Suzanne Jantille, is a trial attorney who is a quadriplegic as a result of a car crash that also paralyzed her husband. She lives through a "Remote person" who has all human senses except for the ability to feel by touch. She can guide the remote person through a helmet attached to her "bio body" and retrieves all "video and audio" signals through the remote. She can function as a whole human being, but the outside world notices that she is a remote — and does not approve.

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