Michael and Bruce met in 1970 when they were classmates at Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Cape Town, South Africa. They reignited a friendship after striking up deep conversations during the celebrations of the 40th reunion of their matriculation year. In 2015, Bruce wrote the Foreword for Michael’s documentary novel Heartbeat about the world’s first human heart transplant, with Bruce’s family having being friends with Chris Barnard’s lead heart surgeon, Dr Rodney Hewitson at the time of this medical milestone in 1967.
When the two friends and their wives met up for a meal together at Den Anker at the Cape Town waterfront soon afterwards, Bruce challenged Michael to think about moving from heart transplants to head transplants, handing him a news report about Italian surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero who claimed to be ready to carry out a head transplant for a man with a muscle-wasting disease. Half in jest and half seriously Bruce and Michael began to investigate the surgical, human, philosophical and ethical dimensions of the question as to whether a head transplants would be possible. At a picnic with friends in the beautiful camphor forest at Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West in 2016, the collaborative project was discussed further and a plot and some characters began to take shape.
The actual research and writing was completed three years later in 2019 and involved at least three complete rewrites or versions, as well as numerous proof-reads and edits. It started life as a medical drama called Immortal Anatomy but morphed over time into a sci-fi novel, set in the near future, about head transplants and the human search for immortality.
William E. Halal
Professor Emeritus of Management, Technology & Innovation, George Washington University
Author of Technology’s Promise & a forthcoming book Beyond Knowledge: Technology is Creating an Age of Consciousness
“Chrysalis is remarkably different type of science fiction that will expand your horizons of life and death. Futurist Michael Lee and brain surgeon Bruce Mathew offer a compelling story of how an average man undergoes the transfer of his brain and central nervous system into a healthy new body, and later transfers these elements of consciousness again into a powerful cyber-body. It may take a few decades to realize this vision, but read the book to glimpse a plausible solution to human immortality.”
Dr Mounes Dakkak
Consultant Gastroenterologist (United Kingdom)
“Very clever and interesting.”
Dr John Paterson
Consultant Physician & Neurologist, Scarborough, East Yorkshire
“The authors have combined the skills of the physician and philosopher to explore what they believe to be the next step in human development. Given the rapidity of advances in the medical sciences and their application, it may be inaccurate to consider this book as being within the genre of science fiction. It allows itself to inform the reader not just of the known and wonderful functionalities of the brain but also explores the philosophical meaning of what may in fact be happening now! To the reader I say be open to these amazing possibilities, they may help you adapt to a new reality.”
Professor of Anaesthesia, Waikato Clinical School, University of Auckland
“The authors have raised many interesting questions in a fast moving, and engaging, book. Much of the first section deals with the fascinating interaction of human desires and emotions with technical issues of augmenting physical life. This is nicely coloured by a backdrop of many scenes that are typical of the Western Cape region of South Africa. As the book progresses it becomes more and more clear that mere extension of physical life does not solve the essential challenge to being human; which is to find some meaning in existence. It is only when the hero starts to look beyond his physical nature, that he can find fulfillment and peace.”