corpsicle n.

a cryogenically frozen person; someone in cold sleep n.; (also, occasionally) a frozen corpse

SF Encyclopedia

  • 1966 R. C. W. Ettinger in Worlds of Tomorrow Nov. 71/2 R. C. W. Ettinger

    His wife, Mildred, has made many contributions, including a new name for the frozen, brittle people: Homo Snapiens. (This is certainly more dignified than Fred Pohl’s ‘corpsesicles’.)

  • 1969 F. Pohl Age of Pussyfoot 210 Frederik Pohl bibliography

    It is true, however, that no corpsicle has yet been thawed and returned to life, and there’s no firm estimate of when one will be.

  • 1971 L. Niven in Galaxy Nov. 52/1 Larry Niven

    ‘Your newstapers called you people corpsicles… I never understood what the tapes meant.’ ‘It comes from popsicle. Frozen sherbet.’ Corbett had used the word himself before he had became one of them. One of the corpsicles, frozen dead.

  • 1973 L. Niven Defenseless Dead in Long ARM Gil Hamilton (1976) 66 Larry Niven

    ‘People used to call them corpsicles, frozen dead. Or Homo snapiens. You can imagine what would happen if you dropped them.’ Mr. Restarick did not smile. These people were in his charge, and he took his task seriously.

  • 1982 R. A. Heinlein Friday (1983) 172 Robert A. Heinlein

    I did not fully appreciate that last until I saw, in an election news story, that the corpsicles at Prehoda Pines Patience Park constituted three precincts all voting through pre-registered proxies.

  • 1986 L. M. Bujold Shards of Honor in Cordelia’s Honor (1999) 245 Lois McMaster Bujold

    He took a breath, and let it out carefully. ‘I see. I guess you would get—pretty hardened, after a while. Is it true you guys call them corpse-sicles?’ ‘Some do,’ she admitted. ‘I don’t.’

  • 1990 F. Pohl World at End of Time (1993) 53 Frederik Pohl

    It had taken eight months for the last of the corpsicles in New Mayflower to be thawed, oriented, and paradropped to Newmanhome’s surface.

  • 1990 G. Bear Heads 20 Greg Bear

    Nobody’s ever brought back a corpsicle.

  • 1990 G. Bear Heads 33 Greg Bear

    There are strong moral and religious feelings on Earth now about corpsicles; revival has been outlawed in seven nations.

  • 1991 S. Robinson Lady Slings the Booze (1992) 9 Spider Robinson bibliography

    It started when a janitor found a corpsicle floating in a rooftop swimming pool next to Central Park one August morning. A stiff, but I mean stiff.

  • 1998 Interzone Nov. 11

    I don’t fancy leaving here as a corpsicle in steerage.

  • 2009 E. Brown Cold Testing in Asimov’s Science Fiction June 66 page image Eric Brown bibliography

    Look, if it freezes to death we just unfreeze it, reboot it, and it’ll be as good as new. Or if its bod becomes a corpsicle, we just go back to the manufacturer and order another one.


Research requirements

antedating 1966

Research History
Frederik Pohl appears to have originated this term.
Earliest use as "corpse-sicle" is from 1966; Earliest confirmed use of "corpsicle" is from 1969.
Mike Christie found a cite from a 1979 reprint of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's "Inferno". Alan Bostick submitted a cite from a 1976 reprint of Larry Niven's "The Defenseless Dead". Alex Harman submitted a cite from a 1991 reprint of Larry Niven's "Rammer"; Mike Christie confirmed the cite in original 1971 magazine version.

Larry Niven has indicated that he borrowed this term, and suggested Pohl & Williamson's "The Reefs of Space" as a possible source. However, Rick Hauptmann reviewed "The Reefs of Space" and found no cites, and Enoch Forrester reviewed both "The Reefs of Space" and "Starchild" and also found no cites.
Mike Christie submitted a 1966 cite from R.C.W. Ettinger for the form "corpsesicles", which Ettinger credits to Pohl.
Dr M. Lohr submitted a cite for the form "corpse-sicles" from a 1999 reprint of Lois McMaster Bujold's "Cordelia's Honor". Arthur T. pointed out that this cite, as well as one from Spider Robinson's "Lady Slings the Booze" (which he submitted), are actually in the sense 'a frozen corpse'.
Edward Bornstein submitted a cite from an author's note at the end of a 1977 reprint of Frederik Pohl's "The Age of the Pussyfoot". The cite does not appear in the original 1966 magazine version, and is dated July 1968, so this cannot be the source Ettinger mentions, Enoch Forrester found the cite in the first printing of the novel (1969), and this is (so far) the earliest confirmed use of the spelling "corpsicle".

Mike Christie submitted a cite from a 1983 reprint of Robert Heinlein's "Friday". Mike Christie submitted a cite from a 1992 reprint of Greg Bear's "Heads".

Last modified 2021-01-29 10:52:35
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.