Days of our Lives!

October 15, 2006

The Terminal Man – Michael Crichton

Filed under: Books — Santhosh @ 1:11 AM
Book Name: The Terminal Man
Author: Michael Crichton
Genre: Fiction – Medical thriller
Storyline and plot spoiler:
Harold Benson – The Patient
Dr. Janet Ross – The Psychiatrist
Dr. John Ellis, Dr. Morris – The Surgeons
McPherson – The Chairman
Benson suffers from stage three psychomotor epilepsy (convulsions of thought, not of body) which results in strange thoughts and violent behavior. The proposed treatment is based on the theory that different parts of the brain correspond to different emotional signals and that it is possible to abort a seizure by delivering an electrical shock to the correct portion of the brain substance before the seizure takes effect.
The procedure is to implant 40 electrodes (trial and error to get atleast a few electrodes at the right parts) into Benson’s brain, controlled by a pacemaker embedded in the back of his neck. Whenever the contoller reads an impending seizure (fit), it delivers an electrical shock to parts of the brain which generate “happy” signals to the body, thus aborting the brain from getting into strange or violent thoughts.
Janet is totally against it, as Benson also suffers from delusions that machines are taking over the world from man. Her argument is that the surgery may only cure his seizures, and not his delusions. But Ellis and Morris get the go ahead from McPherson.
The surgery to implant the electrodes and the controller/pacemaker is smooth. The interfacing session the next day to find the correct electrodes also goes ahead with no trouble, and everything is in place.
However, they come up with a problem. Benson’s brain starts liking the electrical stimulations it receives everytime there’s an impending seizure, and as a result, his brain tries to bring on the seizures so that it can receive the stimulations more frequently. This could have been corrected, had it not been that Benson escapes from the hospital. The projection is that in 6 hours his brain would reach tip-off, the state where stimulations occur without any interval, and so the seizure takes over and he becomes more violent.
Everbody goes in search of him to his favourite haunts, and Morris gets assaulted by Benson. At around the 6 hour mark, Benson goes into a tip-off initiated trance and murders a dancer. He then comes in search of Janet to ask for her help but goes into a trance yet again, from which Janet escapes by switching on her microwave which plays havoc with his radioactive pacemaker.
The end is set in the hospital basement, where Benson comes to destroy the main computer that can re-program his embedded controller. In the end, Janet overcomes her doctoral instincts and kills Benson.

1 Comment »

  1. Santhosh, Sounds interstin man…like madical thrillers…join hands wid me then….

    Comment by Anandhi — October 15, 2006 @ 1:37 AM | Reply

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