Saturday, April 29, 2017

Human head transplants

This isn't the first article I've read about it, just the latest:

Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero will undertake the first human head transplant later this year in China, the doctor told German magazine Ooom in an article published Thursday. And, following that effort, he will revive a cryogenically frozen brain and transplant it into a donor body within the next three years.

First of all, it's not really a head transplant.  It's a body transplant.  After all, our personalities and cognitive functions are located in our brains.  Our heads are what make us "us," not what's below the neck.  The person getting the transplant is the frozen-brain guy.  And if the surgery succeeds--highly unlikely, but let's speculate for a second--then I suspect he will wake up both angry and insane.  He will probably become homicidal very quickly.  Mary Shelly was an optimist.

As for the story potential...

On the one hand, this is fertile ground for science fiction authors, and it's been explored by them for a long time.  There are all sorts of psychological possibilities here, not to mention the purely physical stuff.  A clever author could write some really bizarre stories in this arena.  And clever authors have.

On the other hand, the idea of human head transplants just creeps me out.  I don't really want to read such stories, and I don't really want to write them.  The stuff in Buddy is about as far as I'm willing to push the human biological envelope, and that was pretty tame by comparison.  So, yeah, as fascinating as it all is in a way, don't expect to see body transplants in my fiction any time soon.

Unless it's done to aliens.  Then it's different.  :D

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