Professor Dowell’s Head, by Alexander Belyaev
Also in 1925, Bulgakov’s fellow countryman Alexander Belyaev published Professor Dowell’s Head, a novel in which a young doctor must take care of the living head an evil scientist exploits for its ideas and knowledge.
About the book
The entire scientific world mourned the loss of Professor Dowell. It was said that just before his death he was on the verge of a breakthrough in the transplantation of human organs.
Marie Laurent felt privileged to work for the professor’s brilliant associate, Professor Kern. But her feelings turned to shock and revulsion when she entered Kern’s laboratory and discovered—sitting on a table, surrounded by tubes and tanks, its eyes blinking and lips moving—Professor Dowell’s head!
Thus begins a classic tale of horror and suspense by Alexander Beliaev, the bestselling Soviet science fiction author of all time, whose work is considered by many readers the equal of Wells’ and Verne’s.
Written half a century ago, this prophetic novel foresees not only organ transplants but other disturbing phenomena of our time, such as the use of mental hospitals as prisons and the manipulation of the news media. In the heads that Kern “rescues” from death, we see a poignant parable of mankind’s disembodied life in a high-technology age.
The escape of one of the heads—after its transplantation to the body of an opera star—is the catalyst for the story’s hair-raising climax, as Marie Laurent and Professor Dowell’s son race against time to bring Kern to justice. Kern is a cunning adversary, armed with formidable weapons, both real and psychological. Pursuing him means hairbreadth escapes and sudden reversals—with the outcome uncertain right up to the last page. - Goodreads
The novel was adapted into a movie in 1984. Watch the trailer below: