In the 1970s I saw a patient in a hospital who was being treated with electrodes implanted in the brain, hooked up to a monitoring computer. I thought this treatment was horrific, and I was amazed that the research seemed to be going forward with no public discussion or even knowledge. I decided to write a novel to make such procedures better known. This particular kind of surgery is no longer done much, so the journalistic aspects of the story are gone.
Harry Benson suffers from violent seizures. When he becomes part of an experimental program that sends electrodes to his brain to calm him, he is in recovery. Until he discovers how to get those soothing pulses more frequently, and then escapes the hopsital–on a murderous rampage with a deadly agenda …
When people said ‘boy, this [The Andromeda Strain] is really up-to-date scientific information,’ I had to laugh. At best, the material was only about 30 years old and at worst, it was 70 years old. There’s a glossy technical surface that was new, but the basic kinds of information on mutants and bacteria and the plot line were a steal from War of the Worlds which was published in 1898. At that point I decided, ‘well if you think that this stuff is modern, how would you react to something that is really new?’ So I wrote The Terminal Man with the expectation that instead of being 30 to 70 years out of date, it would only be about 5 years out of date.
|June 7, 1974
|1 hr. 47 min.
|Based on the Novel By:
|George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard A. Dysartas, Donald Moffat, Jill Clayburgh, James Sikking