Professor Dowell's Head Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Professor Dowell's Head

Mari Loran, a nurse, gets a new job at the office of Professor Kern. Her responsibilities are quite a shocker: she is required to take care of a living human head, separated from the body and kept alive with the help of complicated equipment. Mari recognizes the head as that of Professor Dowell, recently deceased, who was known for his experiments with reviving human organs taken from dead bodies. Kern confirms that the head is Dowell's and orders Mari to keep her mouth shut about it. As he explains how the life-supporting equipment works, he points out one switch that he says Mari should never turn on as it will kill the head.
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Mari begins her work. The head cannot talk, but Mari learns to understand its mimic and communicate with it. Through the movements of eyes and eyebrows the head can say “yes” and “no” and express simple wishes. It turns out that Professor Dowell – that is, the head – continues to work. Every day Mari brings the newest scientific magazines; the head reads them and shows what places need to be underlined. Later on Professor Kern uses those materials for his work, shamelessly taking all the credit.

When the head indicates that it wishes Mari to turn on the forbidden switch, Mari thinks that the professor wants to end his miserable existence and refuses. But the head keeps repeating the request, indicating that it will not result into death. Mari takes the risk. It turns out that the switch pushes air through the head's throat, enabling it to speak. Professor Dowell tells her his story. He died of an asthma attack, and there is a possibility that Kern, who was present and had administered medicine, overdosed it on purpose.

The review of this Book prepared by Laura Southcombe

A young doctor comes to a new work. She has to take care of a living head of a person, later discovered to be a scientist thought dead. She learns about her employer and his betrayal of the professor and with the help of the professor's son and others she avenges the scientist.
The review of this Book prepared by irina

Chapter Analysis of Professor Dowell's Head

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 70%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Lifeform altered?    -   Yes Kind of alteration:    -   exotic/alien torture for major character Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   doctor Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Professor Dowell's Head

Alexander Beliaev Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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