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YASID: Man with prosthetic organs in a walking box
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Nyrath
2018-11-05 20:12:32 UTC
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This was in a short story I read in the 70s to 80s.

All I remember is a man who had some of his internal organs succumb to cancer or some other disease. Prosthetic replacement organs were created.

However the new organs were larger than the original. To accommodate them, the mechanical organs were placed in a large box with mechanical legs. The box was connected to the man with a cable (containing organic plumbing for blood and other bodily fluids), and was programmed to follow the man around.

IIRC eventually other organs fell, requiring a second box. So the man was like a locomotive, with two boxes following him in tandem.

Since one of the boxes contained the artificial lungs, the man could go swimming and dive underwater for unlimited times. The box with lungs would float on the surface, and the man would receive oxygenated blood through the umbilical cable.

Does this sound familiar?

Thank you for your time.
Sjouke Burry
2018-11-05 21:13:22 UTC
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Post by Nyrath
This was in a short story I read in the 70s to 80s.
All I remember is a man who had some of his internal organs succumb to cancer or some other disease. Prosthetic replacement organs were created.
However the new organs were larger than the original. To accommodate them, the mechanical organs were placed in a large box with mechanical legs. The box was connected to the man with a cable (containing organic plumbing for blood and other bodily fluids), and was programmed to follow the man around.
IIRC eventually other organs fell, requiring a second box. So the man was like a locomotive, with two boxes following him in tandem.
Since one of the boxes contained the artificial lungs, the man could go swimming and dive underwater for unlimited times. The box with lungs would float on the surface, and the man would receive oxygenated blood through the umbilical cable.
Does this sound familiar?
No.
Mike Van Pelt
2018-11-05 23:40:10 UTC
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Post by Nyrath
This was in a short story I read in the 70s to 80s.
All I remember is a man who had some of his internal organs succumb
to cancer or some other disease. Prosthetic replacement organs were
created.
However the new organs were larger than the original. To accommodate
them, the mechanical organs were placed in a large box with mechanical
legs. The box was connected to the man with a cable (containing
organic plumbing for blood and other bodily fluids), and was
programmed to follow the man around.
IIRC eventually other organs fell, requiring a second box. So the
man was like a locomotive, with two boxes following him in tandem.
Since one of the boxes contained the artificial lungs, the man could
go swimming and dive underwater for unlimited times. The box with
lungs would float on the surface, and the man would receive oxygenated
blood through the umbilical cable.
Does this sound familiar?
The general idea appeared in Fred Saberhagen's "Berserker Man".
The father of the title character was a fighter pilot who's had
some serious damage and had much parts replaced. I think it was
from getting shot up pretty seriously rather than cancer, though.
He was described as "a train of boxes" more or less, I think.

I don't recall any swimming scenes, but it's been a while.

And it's a novel, not a short story. But maybe the same character
was in a short story?
--
Mike Van Pelt | "I don't advise it unless you're nuts."
mvp at calweb.com | -- Ray Wilkinson, after riding out Hurricane
KE6BVH | Ike on Surfside Beach in Galveston
Nyrath
2018-11-05 23:50:11 UTC
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Thanks, but I'm pretty sure it was not Berserker Man. That had space fighters and Berserkers, which were not in the story I am thinking of.

Thanks anyway
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-11-06 18:39:23 UTC
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Post by Nyrath
This was in a short story I read in the 70s to 80s.
All I remember is a man who had some of his internal organs succumb to
cancer or some other disease. Prosthetic replacement organs were
created.
However the new organs were larger than the original. To accommodate
them, the mechanical organs were placed in a large box with mechanical
legs. The box was connected to the man with a cable (containing organic
plumbing for blood and other bodily fluids), and was programmed to
follow the man around.
IIRC eventually other organs fell, requiring a second box. So the man
was like a locomotive, with two boxes following him in tandem.
Since one of the boxes contained the artificial lungs, the man could go
swimming and dive underwater for unlimited times. The box with lungs
would float on the surface, and the man would receive oxygenated blood
through the umbilical cable.
Does this sound familiar?
Thank you for your time.
It's not a short story, and the guy isn't exactly a man, but could it be
Michael Chester _The mystery of the lost moon_ ?

I quite liked this as a kid, especially the antlered, absent-minded, teleporter
"Old Pumm":

Lost Moon? Missing Satellite? 1965. I am seeking a Young
Adult novel published in the 1960's or late '50s, illustrated
by Charles Geer. I don''t recall the name of the author
this might also be Geer. The title is something like "The
Secret of the Lost Moon" or "The Mystery of the Missing
Satellite". The novel is set in the near future -- there's
a space colony on the Moon, and so forth -- but most of the
action takes place on a future Earth that could pass for
1950s Mayberry U.S.A. if you don't mind the extraterrestrials.
Early one morning, a boy hears a disturbance outside his
family's house: he gets dressed and goes to investigate.
His younger sister follows him, but she doesn't get dressed:
she wears pajamas throughout the book. The kids meet an
alien who looks something like a talking moose: he has huge
antlers and is always honing them with a pumice stone. Years
ago, the alien visited this region of space and he encountered
a very interesting moon: now he's back, but he can't
recall the precise location or name of the moon he visited.
(I know the feeling.)The alien has offered a reward for
anyone who can help him find the missing moon, so now various
adult humans and aliens show up to join the search. One is
a big burly scientist named Phillider (correct spelling?)
who is always causing explosions. Another is an interplanetary
salesman who looks like Snidely Whiplash: thin, black
clothes, tall black hat, long black mustache. Another
contestant is a frog-faced alien who keeps eating sugar
wafers and who owns a creature called a Gibbous: an enormous
grey blob which can somehow fit itself entirely into the
shell of a hardboiled egg. (One chapter of this novel is
titled "The Gibbous".) There is also an alien detective
from a weird species: his body consists of a very tall pole
with a single wheel at the base (like a unicycle) and his
head at the top: his head wears a deerstalker cap and smokes
a pipe. Meanwhile, all of his "internal" organs are attached
to a separate pole, on a unicycle wheel of its own, which
rolls along beside him. Each of the contestants has a
different theory as to the identity of the lost moon: one
of them makes the obvious guess that it's Earth's moon.
When the moose-like alien flexes his antlers, he is able
to teleport himself and all the contestants (plus the boy
and girl) to whichever moon or satellite a contestant
chooses. Teleporting long distances is easier for him than
short distances. At the end of the novel, when all the
official contestants have failed, the boy and girl correctly
deduce that the missing "moon" is actually the Earth, which
is technically a moon of the Sun. Can anyone identify this
novel by title or author? I'm 90% certain that the illustrator
is Charles Geer -- the pictures are certainly in Geer's
style -- but I don't find this book listed in any reference
to Geer's work.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
Peter Trei
2018-11-06 20:07:04 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Nyrath
This was in a short story I read in the 70s to 80s.
All I remember is a man who had some of his internal organs succumb to
cancer or some other disease. Prosthetic replacement organs were
created.
However the new organs were larger than the original. To accommodate
them, the mechanical organs were placed in a large box with mechanical
legs. The box was connected to the man with a cable (containing organic
plumbing for blood and other bodily fluids), and was programmed to
follow the man around.
IIRC eventually other organs fell, requiring a second box. So the man
was like a locomotive, with two boxes following him in tandem.
Since one of the boxes contained the artificial lungs, the man could go
swimming and dive underwater for unlimited times. The box with lungs
would float on the surface, and the man would receive oxygenated blood
through the umbilical cable.
Does this sound familiar?
Thank you for your time.
It's not a short story, and the guy isn't exactly a man, but could it be
Michael Chester _The mystery of the lost moon_ ?
I quite liked this as a kid, especially the antlered, absent-minded, teleporter
Lost Moon? Missing Satellite? 1965. I am seeking a Young
Adult novel published in the 1960's or late '50s, illustrated
by Charles Geer. I don''t recall the name of the author
this might also be Geer. The title is something like "The
Secret of the Lost Moon" or "The Mystery of the Missing
Satellite". The novel is set in the near future -- there's
a space colony on the Moon, and so forth -- but most of the
action takes place on a future Earth that could pass for
1950s Mayberry U.S.A. if you don't mind the extraterrestrials.
Early one morning, a boy hears a disturbance outside his
family's house: he gets dressed and goes to investigate.
she wears pajamas throughout the book. The kids meet an
alien who looks something like a talking moose: he has huge
antlers and is always honing them with a pumice stone. Years
ago, the alien visited this region of space and he encountered
a very interesting moon: now he's back, but he can't
recall the precise location or name of the moon he visited.
(I know the feeling.)The alien has offered a reward for
anyone who can help him find the missing moon, so now various
adult humans and aliens show up to join the search. One is
a big burly scientist named Phillider (correct spelling?)
who is always causing explosions. Another is an interplanetary
salesman who looks like Snidely Whiplash: thin, black
clothes, tall black hat, long black mustache. Another
contestant is a frog-faced alien who keeps eating sugar
wafers and who owns a creature called a Gibbous: an enormous
grey blob which can somehow fit itself entirely into the
shell of a hardboiled egg. (One chapter of this novel is
titled "The Gibbous".) There is also an alien detective
from a weird species: his body consists of a very tall pole
with a single wheel at the base (like a unicycle) and his
head at the top: his head wears a deerstalker cap and smokes
a pipe. Meanwhile, all of his "internal" organs are attached
to a separate pole, on a unicycle wheel of its own, which
rolls along beside him. Each of the contestants has a
different theory as to the identity of the lost moon: one
of them makes the obvious guess that it's Earth's moon.
When the moose-like alien flexes his antlers, he is able
to teleport himself and all the contestants (plus the boy
and girl) to whichever moon or satellite a contestant
chooses. Teleporting long distances is easier for him than
short distances. At the end of the novel, when all the
official contestants have failed, the boy and girl correctly
deduce that the missing "moon" is actually the Earth, which
is technically a moon of the Sun. Can anyone identify this
novel by title or author? I'm 90% certain that the illustrator
is Charles Geer -- the pictures are certainly in Geer's
style -- but I don't find this book listed in any reference
to Geer's work.
THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST MOON
Michael Chester
Putnam, 1962

https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Lost-Moon-Michael-Chester/dp/B000RC4GEC

pt
Peter Trei
2018-11-06 20:09:26 UTC
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Post by Peter Trei
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
Post by Nyrath
This was in a short story I read in the 70s to 80s.
All I remember is a man who had some of his internal organs succumb to
cancer or some other disease. Prosthetic replacement organs were
created.
However the new organs were larger than the original. To accommodate
them, the mechanical organs were placed in a large box with mechanical
legs. The box was connected to the man with a cable (containing organic
plumbing for blood and other bodily fluids), and was programmed to
follow the man around.
IIRC eventually other organs fell, requiring a second box. So the man
was like a locomotive, with two boxes following him in tandem.
Since one of the boxes contained the artificial lungs, the man could go
swimming and dive underwater for unlimited times. The box with lungs
would float on the surface, and the man would receive oxygenated blood
through the umbilical cable.
Does this sound familiar?
Thank you for your time.
It's not a short story, and the guy isn't exactly a man, but could it be
Michael Chester _The mystery of the lost moon_ ?
I quite liked this as a kid, especially the antlered, absent-minded, teleporter
Lost Moon? Missing Satellite? 1965. I am seeking a Young
Adult novel published in the 1960's or late '50s, illustrated
by Charles Geer. I don''t recall the name of the author
this might also be Geer. The title is something like "The
Secret of the Lost Moon" or "The Mystery of the Missing
Satellite". The novel is set in the near future -- there's
a space colony on the Moon, and so forth -- but most of the
action takes place on a future Earth that could pass for
1950s Mayberry U.S.A. if you don't mind the extraterrestrials.
Early one morning, a boy hears a disturbance outside his
family's house: he gets dressed and goes to investigate.
she wears pajamas throughout the book. The kids meet an
alien who looks something like a talking moose: he has huge
antlers and is always honing them with a pumice stone. Years
ago, the alien visited this region of space and he encountered
a very interesting moon: now he's back, but he can't
recall the precise location or name of the moon he visited.
(I know the feeling.)The alien has offered a reward for
anyone who can help him find the missing moon, so now various
adult humans and aliens show up to join the search. One is
a big burly scientist named Phillider (correct spelling?)
who is always causing explosions. Another is an interplanetary
salesman who looks like Snidely Whiplash: thin, black
clothes, tall black hat, long black mustache. Another
contestant is a frog-faced alien who keeps eating sugar
wafers and who owns a creature called a Gibbous: an enormous
grey blob which can somehow fit itself entirely into the
shell of a hardboiled egg. (One chapter of this novel is
titled "The Gibbous".) There is also an alien detective
from a weird species: his body consists of a very tall pole
with a single wheel at the base (like a unicycle) and his
head at the top: his head wears a deerstalker cap and smokes
a pipe. Meanwhile, all of his "internal" organs are attached
to a separate pole, on a unicycle wheel of its own, which
rolls along beside him. Each of the contestants has a
different theory as to the identity of the lost moon: one
of them makes the obvious guess that it's Earth's moon.
When the moose-like alien flexes his antlers, he is able
to teleport himself and all the contestants (plus the boy
and girl) to whichever moon or satellite a contestant
chooses. Teleporting long distances is easier for him than
short distances. At the end of the novel, when all the
official contestants have failed, the boy and girl correctly
deduce that the missing "moon" is actually the Earth, which
is technically a moon of the Sun. Can anyone identify this
novel by title or author? I'm 90% certain that the illustrator
is Charles Geer -- the pictures are certainly in Geer's
style -- but I don't find this book listed in any reference
to Geer's work.
THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST MOON
Michael Chester
Putnam, 1962
https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Lost-Moon-Michael-Chester/dp/B000RC4GEC
pt
Sorry for the redundancy, I thought the cover illo might strike a memory.

pt
Nyrath
2018-11-06 20:44:43 UTC
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Yes, I remember reading that, but sadly that is not the story. But thank you anyway for answering!
Nyrath
2018-11-06 20:50:06 UTC
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"That" being THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST MOON
a***@msn.com
2018-11-07 00:30:03 UTC
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This could be "Man in a Quandary" by L. J. Stecher which is available on Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51421/51421-h/51421-h.htm . "Man in a Quandary" features a fellow who keeps being injured, leading to becoming more and more artificial; the gimmick is that the story is told as a letter to a newspaper advice column.
a***@msn.com
2018-11-07 00:38:11 UTC
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I just checked the story and it includes a passage about swimming:

"Speaking of diving boards, maybe you wonder how I could swim while towing a trailer. No trouble at all. I would just put my tail between my legs and have my cart grab me around the waist with a kind of body scissors. The cart's flexible air sac was on its top when it was in normal position, so this held it away from my body, where it would not get squeezed. I would take in just enough air so that it was neutrally buoyant, and with its streamlined shape, it didn't slow me down enough to notice."
Nyrath
2018-11-07 02:47:27 UTC
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THAT'S IT!
Thank you so much!
a***@msn.com
2018-11-07 03:19:57 UTC
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Post by Nyrath
THAT'S IT!
Thank you so much!
Great! I read the story back in the mid-70s (my personal Golden Age), and recently rediscovered it when I got a copy Galaxy Reader 4 (where I had originally read it and several others I remembered).
Nyrath
2018-11-07 03:24:32 UTC
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Post by a***@msn.com
Great! I read the story back in the mid-70s (my personal Golden Age), and recently rediscovered it when I got a copy Galaxy Reader 4 (where I had originally read it and several others I remembered).
I am coming to suspect that many of the odd science fiction stories I have vague memories of were ones I originally read in the Galaxy Reader collections. Thanks!
a***@msn.com
2018-11-07 03:28:05 UTC
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Post by Nyrath
I am coming to suspect that many of the odd science fiction stories I have vague
memories of were ones I originally read in the Galaxy Reader collections. Thanks!
That was the case for me.
Anonymous
2018-11-11 23:34:43 UTC
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Post by Nyrath
THAT'S IT!
Thank you so much!
Oh wow! The original description rang a bell from my youth, but I
wouldn't have been able to supply a name for the story anyway. All
I could recall was that I'd read something like the original
description as part of an anthology and that it was from the '50s.
And it is quite amazing that after decades I still remember the
last sentence of that story. Good punchline, that.


Adamastor Glace Mortimer
a***@msn.com
2018-11-12 00:30:19 UTC
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Post by Anonymous
Oh wow! The original description rang a bell from my youth, but I
wouldn't have been able to supply a name for the story anyway. All
I could recall was that I'd read something like the original
description as part of an anthology and that it was from the '50s.
And it is quite amazing that after decades I still remember the
last sentence of that story. Good punchline, that.
You may have read it in The Fourth Galaxy Reader, like I did, which also has Sheckley's "The Minimum Man" and other good stories http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?40172
Anonymous
2018-11-11 23:01:24 UTC
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Post by a***@msn.com
This could be "Man in a Quandary" by L. J. Stecher which is available on Project Gutenberg https://www.gutenberg.org/files/51421/51421-h/51421-h.htm . "Man in a Quandary" features a fellow who keeps being injured, leading to becoming more and more artificial; the gimmick is that the story is told as a letter to a newspaper advice column.
I read that story as part of an anthology in my youth. It was from
the '50s, as I recall. The last sentence of the story was the
amusing part.



Adamastor Glace Mortimer
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