Destination:Void is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, first published in 1966 and released in a revised addition in 1978. There would be three books released after it. continuing its story.
The books plot, such as it were, is about a space ship, leaving from the moon with a crew of clones in hybernation to colonize a distant star. Its computing system, which consists of a Organic Mental Core (a human brain specially grown to run a computer, in an idea that perhaps was taken from Cordwainer Smith), mysteriously fails, leaving a skeleton crew to figure out a way to rewire the computer to be powerful enough to help the ship undergo its interstellar expedition.
The only way to do this, apparently, is to try to make the computer conscious, which brings us to the meat of the book: 250 or so pages of the crew members engaging in a scientific and philosophical discussion about the nature of consciousness. This discussion takes place in the subtle, portentious style of prose that readers of Herbert's other books (such as Dune), will be familiar with. The book ends with a sudden break through an ending that can be called literally Deus ex Machina.
Herbert's thoughts on the connection between brain chemistry and structure and philosophical dimensions of consciousness are very sophisticated for a popular book in the mid-60's or late-70's. And very few authors could succesfully make me sit through a book that resembles a 300 page long philosophy discussion. I can't imagine that any other writer could make this sound like anything other than 300 pages of loopy pseudo-science and pretentious philosophy, but Herbert manages to pull it off. Atlhough not the most entertaining read, this book is good for people studying the growth of the philosophical aspects of science fiction.