The Necronaut
A science fiction novel by
Michael R. Pilinski...

the necronaut science fiction what would it be like to be conscious

Injured in a tragic skydiving accident, a dying man's consciousness is transferred into an experimental supercomputer in a daring bid to preserve his living essence.   Now, trapped somewhere between disembodied awareness and a psychedelic world of trans-death reality known as the necrosphere, Justin Garret awakens from biological death to discover he's become the world's first digitized human consciousness... alive, inside a machine.

Justin carries a unique genetic factor that has made him the perfect trial subject for an experimental new technology developed by the brilliant neurophysicist research team of Drs. Luthor and Diana Cain.   They have discovered a way to manipulate matter at its quantum level with the use of a specialized radiation-like force called the FIRE Field.   This 'Force Infra-quantum Radiation Effect' can literally lock organic molecules into a state of perfect suspension, allowing both their physical properties and the information contained in their neurologic structures to be preserved indefinitely in a process known as Biostasis.

The Cains keep the theoretical underpinnings of biostasis a closely guarded secret, wishing to validate their unorthodox theories of consciousness and the nature of the supernatural before taking it public.   This mysterious approach to science brings them into direct conflict with their secret financial benefactors however: a double-crossing hi-tech spy agency which has it's own classified agenda that includes evaluating the intelligence potential of Justin Garret's highly-prized "electro-consciousness."

Under experimental prodding by the husband-wife team of maverick researchers who saved his life, Justin is taught to become a "necronaut" - a trans-dimensional explorer who can travel back and forth at will between the realm of the living and the dead... visiting strange hyper-realistic planes of reality never before imagined.   Cautiously at first and then with increasing abandon, Justin begins to experience incredible translations of space and time which draw him back to revisit the very evolution of self-awareness itself.   His struggle to come to grips with his bizarre non-corporeal existence is further compounded by the strain of having to deal with his heartbroken and still very human wife Leah, whom he can only communicate with through the screen of a computer.

Torn apart by tragedy, the two lovers are given one last improbable chance to reach across the void and touch each other's souls during a daring attempt to link Justin's electro-conscious matrix directly into his wife's mind.   Events move unexpectedly from dramatic to deadly though when the experiment is sabotaged and the necronaut finds himself trapped in a high stakes tug-of-war between his scientific caretakers and the enigmatic government agency looking to turn his half-human, half-digital meme into the ultimate weapon of cyber-espionage.

Deception, betrayal, senseless murder, a horrifying invasion of an innocent man's mind and a final courageous act of friendship set the stage for the shocking double-twist ending of this fast-paced science fiction thriller -- one that will leave you reflecting on the nature of reality, and of our own uncertain place within it.

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Reader Reviews

"I just finished reading The Necronaut by Michael R. Pilinski and I have to say that the hysterical surprise ending of this book is still hot in my mind - and it still has me shaking my head that I didn't see it coming!   It's rare that a story ties up all its plot threads so tidy and leaves the reader with such a sense of satisfaction.   I'll certainly give it high marks for that.

Although this was a pretty long book, it didn't seem so because the plot and the events moved along rapidly with very few boring stretches.  No wasted words for sure.  The character dialogs flow naturally so that you can almost visualize the scenes playing out like a movie in your head.

The plot of the Necronaut is actually several big ideas all woven together, each centered around the strange but fascinating transformation of a human mind into an "electro-consciousness" by one Justin Garret -- whose still-functional mind is digitized into an experimental storage device in order to save his fading life (very cool technology, btw).   Here, he gains the unexpected ability to transit the boundary between life and death in BOTH directions, reporting on what he discovers.

This story had me doing some serious thinking about some very heavy subjects, even when I wasn't reading the book.  The ultimate 'truths' that Justin uncovers as the necronaut did make a certain amount of cold-hearted sense to me in an unsettling way - it makes you wonder about the nature of this weird ride that we call conscious existence: where does it end?... does it EVER end?   Are we really unique beings eternally separate from our fellow mental travelers?  Or is consciousness just an illusion created by the physical necessity of our having to carry around biological bodies as 'soul containers' while we're here?

The stark psychologic contrast that the necronaut's electronic 'soul' makes with the artificial intelligence that nurtures him, a supercomputer known as Cyclops, further complicates the issue: is the AI barred from true sentience because it doesn't share in the Universal Mind as humans apparently do?   Or is it just a different manifestation of the same thing?  Questions to ponder.

The plot line involving the whole spying on the Soviets thing dated this story a bit I thought, but didn't really detract from it.  In fact, this gave the book the page-turning punch of an old fashioned spy novel I suppose.   It was also refreshing to see a healthy dose of sex and eroticism freely mixed into a SF plot -- science fiction has become somewhat too PG-13 and even cartoonish for me of late.  So I applaud this.  The Necronaut is definitely R-rated (at the very least!)

Highly recommended.  Don't let the size of this book scare you away."

~Matthieu Acken


"This story was an interesting blend of whiz-bang and intellectual drama.  I can sense Mr. Pilinski's love of the technical detail - which was a signature element of such SF greats such as Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton - but (like them) he doesn't let the hardware overwhelm the human dimension of the story, which really fuels our interest as readers of fiction, after all.

The characters were as well developed as one can expect for this type of genre -- where action and wonder take up a lot of the page space.  The eye-opening streak of eroticism in this book was somewhat surprising, but integral to the story.  Also, it was handled with an absolute absence of shame that bordered on the near clinical at times, which was interesting I thought.   Mixed grades there -- but like I said, necessary to the story, so...

All-in-all this book was not what I'd expected from reading (what passes for) the "back cover" summary in this world of e-books.  Instead of encountering the usual Hollywood stereotype of ghosts and hellish creatures that you would expect a "trans-dimensional death-explorer" to ultimately encounter, what the Necronaut discovers instead is an interesting 'third option' between simple nonexistence and the usual trite quasi-religious fantasy (although there was a very brief nod to some standard Christian imagery).  I would actually recommend this book - it will keep you entertained and certainly will make you think.

It's too bad Stanley Kubrick isn't around to turn this into a screenplay - I would love to see what he could've done with it.  (Move over 2001!...)"

~Julian Darcy


"I loved this book!  What surprised me the most about this highly technical, trippy adventure is that, beyond all the machinery and the gee whiz science-lab stuff, it's actually a very moving love story.  The experimental meeting between the "necronaut" and his wife, conducted within the bounds of their shared super-conscious mindspace, was so beautiful I must admit that it brought up a few tears.  I've read more than a few so-called romance novels over the years that didn't have nearly this sort of effect on me!

This book was not at all what I expected when I downloaded it from the kindle library on a lark.   It was very thought-provoking, and I absolutely LOVED the wild twist ending... what a crazy way to go transgender!" :-)

~Melissa Tresvetter


"What a terrific story the Necronaut is!  Like a graphic novel but without the pictures.  One question tho: when's the movie coming out?  Hey I've got the perfect guy to play Luthor Cain... Kevin Spacey!"

~Richard Kloss


"This book is interesting to read on several levels, but mostly because it puts forward a theory of existence that really made me stop and think: that all conscious energy in the universe could be interwoven through some kind of hyper-dimensional 'internet' of sorts.   It suggests that we're all resting dormant as part of some transcendent, mega-potential common consciousness as we languish in-between our individual physical manifestations on suitable planets in suitable organic (or mechanic) bodies.

Little is still known about the true nature of human consciousness (is it fundamentally illusory, and therefore limited to physical reality for instance, or does it possess some as of yet undetected supernatural property?)  Perhaps at the quantum physics level?.  No one really knows yet.  Therefore, most any reasonable idea could hold at least SOME part of the truth -- and this particular "necrosphere" idea certainly does meet that bar... low as it may be, perhaps.

At least this theory doesn't have to lean on the far more difficult-to-prove existence of the supernatural like the deity explanation does.  Just saying."

~David Cantos


"Dude, how do I become electro-conscious... sounds like it would be completely sick!  Would somebody please invent this?... we were supposed to already have HAL-9000 10 years ago!"

~Stoney Budds
     (a pseudonym, I hope...)


"The Necronaut's phantasmagoric voyage of the conscious mind and soul - his descent and de-evolution both through deep time AND deep dimensionality - is a great example of how this writer draws you through a very long tale by always making you want to peek around the next corner and see what's coming up next.  This was a tough book to put down for sure.  Very unique story, not what I was expecting.   Much recommended."

~Wayne Hong


"What a riot of a tale this is: amazing technology, alternate theories of reality, fantastic mindtrips, double-dealing spy agencies, horrifying psycho-interrogations, hot 'scientific' sex, cold-blooded killers, romance, heroism and a double twist ending that will leave you LOL (I did!).

The Necronaut... great entertainment!"

~Joseph Thelene


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