I'm looking for the name of a short story, possibly from the 60's although there are likely dozens of similar type stories. It was about an invisible race of (maybe alien) beings that had the ability to move into and take over a humans body like with spiritual possession. The victims would meet up with one another and have sex in hotel rooms for days on end before finally getting their consciousness back. They would re-enter their own lives without any questions as to where they had been for the last few days from family and employers and friends given everyone had had similar experiences before themselves. They would go about their lives and never talk about it like it never happened, like they were all living in denial, however they would occasionally see a stranger on the street and get a strong sense of deja-vu and know exactly the reason why. It was a fairly short story, I think not more than 10 pages maybe and likely published in a sci-fi magazine in the 60's or 70's. Cheers

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    I've answered it. Hopefully at some point the other questioner will accept their answer so that we can dupe them together.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


This is "Passengers" by Robert Silverberg. The main characters are "ridden" by aliens.

Per wikipedia

The story is set in the year 1987. For three years, people on Earth have been subject to the will of the "Passengers"—-intangible beings who usurp human bodies temporarily and without warning, and do nothing but play and cause havoc. People being "ridden" are ignored by others, and when they are freed, the experience, by social convention, is ignored by all. When the Passenger leaves the host body, the person is left with no memories of his time being ridden.

The story is narrated by a man who wakes up after a three-day ride. Unusually, he recalls what has taken place: a random sexual encounter with a woman, also being ridden at the time. By chance, he encounters her just a few hours after her Passenger has left her. Fighting against the pervasive pessimism of the world (people tend to avoid relationships, as one can be taken by a Passenger at any moment), he tries to connect with his fellow victim. Just as he begins to win her trust, he is again taken by a Passenger, driven into a nearby bar, where he meets a man and leaves the bar with him.

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    Spider Robinson's short story User Friendly has a similar premise.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 14:23
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    @JoeL. - Even though it's not the right answer, if they're very similar, you might want to post up an answer explaining the major premise and plotline. A partial answer is still an answer and worthy of upvoting.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 16:04
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    Extra rep is always nice, but that seems unnecessarily greedy. I posted the comment because it's interesting to read different author's takes on the same idea.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 16:23

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