>I recall about ten years ago someone was going to try to patent the
>idea of hooking a head up to a fancy heart/lung/kidney machine to keep
>it running, with the stated intention of preventing such an immoral
>application of technology by sitting on the patent. If such a device
>were possible it would be a superior solution to using donor bodies,
>and maybe the patent holder would agree that it was less immoral.
This is mentioned in some detail in Alex Heard's "Apocalypse Really Soon." Personally, I don't find the idea all that repellent. I think we're nearing the time when we'll be able to clone a human body (sans brain) and keep it in some form of suspension as "back-up parts" should the original, living person need transplants, etc. Also, in an era of head transplants in which spinal nerves could be successfully reattached, this might be a useful immortalist step (more delaying the "inevitable," of course, but better than nothing).
I published a (in retrospective) rather lame science fiction story centered on this general idea. The twist: the cryonauts who were cloned weren't made aware of the fact and went catatonic with future shock. So the doctors, to protect their investment in immortalist technology, left the brains in the clones and told them that _they_ were the orignals (suffering from some kind of seletive amnesia).