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This article is about a term. For the television episode, see List of Pushing Daisies episodes.

Corpsicle is a term that has been used in science fiction to refer to a corpse that has been cryonically cryopreserved. It is a portmanteau of "corpse" and "popsicle".


Its earliest printed usage in the current form dates from 1969 in science fiction author Fred Pohl's book The Age of the Pussyfoot, in which a corpsicle is referred to as "a zombie frozen in Alaska." The previous spelling, "corpse-sicle", also attributed to Pohl, appeared in the essay Immortality Through Freezing, published in the August 1966 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow.[1][2]

Later usage[edit]

Larry Niven employed the term in Rammer (1971), a short story in his collection A Hole in Space, originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction, later enlarged into the novel, A World Out of Time (1976). Niven's protagonist is awakened in a society which gives no legal rights whatsoever to corpsicles.[3] In The Integral Trees (1983) and its 1987 sequel The Smoke Ring, set in the same universe, the pejorative term eventually becomes worn down to "copsik," meaning "slave." Niven also uses the term in The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton novella The Defenseless Dead, published in 1973. The story includes debate about the legal right of frozen persons to continued physical support after their personal funds are exhausted.

Ben Bova uses the term in his 2001 novel The Precipice. In this novel, many subjects have been cryonically preserved; however those who are revived have lost all their memories.[4] In cinema, the term features in Paul W. S. Anderson's Event Horizon (1997), albeit used to refer to frozen remains with no hope of revival.[5]


  1. ^ Science Fiction Citations Database for the Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  3. ^ Clark, Stephen R. (1995). How to Live Forever. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12626-6. 
  4. ^ Bova, Ben (2001). The Precipice (The Asteroid Wars, Book 1). New York: Tor Books. ISBN 978-0-312-84876-7. 
  5. ^ Lacey, Liam (1997-08-18). "Event Horizon (1997)". The Globe and Mail. Bell Globemedia Publishing. Retrieved 2008-12-17. [dead link]