I'm looking for a short science fiction story with the following summary: a man comes back home (either from work or a trip of some nature) with a different personality. He's more attentive to his wife and child's needs, and truly enjoys the world around him. However, the police/investigators believe that her husband may have had his consciousness swapped with some type of alien life form, and they interrogate the woman, asking if she's seen any changes in her husband. Yet, the woman likes the new changes in her husband, and decides to lie to the police and commit herself to the alien. The alien is very grateful, and they basically live happily ever after with the husband's consciousness floating around in space somewhere, I think.

What made this story memorable was that it was flip on alien possession - the wife LIKES the changes to her husband since he was neglectful/abusive in the past. She doesn't miss her old husband's personality in the least. And then, when confronted with the fact that the police could find her husband's consciousness and switch them back, she makes the choice to not give up her "new" husband. She chooses her happiness.

Anyway, I really love this story and I've been looking EVERYWHERE for it but since I don't even know the author's name I'm screwed! If it's a pretty famous story, I'll eat my own foot honestly, haha. But, if anyone can help, I'd be EXTREMELY appreciative!!

  • Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Also, take a look at our tour to get a better understanding of our site and earn your first badge!
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 26, 2017 at 22:01
  • 1
    @Danny - he's coming back from some kind of work-related thing, I believe. He has an altercation with the alien which leads to the possession of his body. I THINK the story starts off with the wife being questioned by the police, but it's been over five years since I read the piece.
    – sunstruck
    Jul 26, 2017 at 22:14
  • Okay cheers. Thinking about it now cos it deffo rings a bell
    – Danny Mc G
    Jul 26, 2017 at 22:33
  • That rings a bell with me as well...
    – user22478
    Jul 27, 2017 at 4:20
  • This rings a bell. I'm fairly sure I read it at some point too, but I can't remember any more details either. I can say I read it at least 15, if not 20 years ago.
    – Tonny
    Jul 27, 2017 at 9:42

2 Answers 2


Philip K. Dick: "Human Is"

From wikipedia:

"Human Is" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Startling Stories, Winter 1955. The plot centers on the crisis facing a woman whose cold and emotionally abusive husband returns from a survey mission to the dying planet Rexor IV, changed for the better—his psyche was replaced by a Rexorian, glad to have escaped the confines of its dying planet.


  • This is it! Thank you so much. I just read it and it was as good as I remembered it!!
    – sunstruck
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:26

It's probably not this, but this very much reminds me of the first scenes of Men in Black:

Wiki link

In the beginning, the Bug crashes on Earth by flying saucer. He crashes on the truck of Edgar, an abusive farmer. When Edgar goes out to investigate with his shotgun, the unseen insect demands Edgar to put down his gun, but Edgar refuses, threatening the bug instead. However the bug grants his "proposal," reveals himself, and kills him by flaying him, eating his body, and uses his skin as a disguise. He goes back inside the house where Edgar's verbally abused wife Beatrice awaited him.

Although I can't find a direct reference to it, Jay and Kay later talk to the wife, who notably mentions a new-found lack of complaints about Edgar's new behavior. The skin-wearing bug had no interest in abusing her, so the new behavior is considered an improvement.

  • There was also a short story where 4 aliens take over dying bodies. One of them tries to find the others and uses an advertising campaign for a baking product. He does locate the others and they have gone native. One of the aliens ended up in the body of an abusive drunk and the family is happier that he has stopped drinking and being abusive.
    – zeta-band
    Dec 1, 2017 at 16:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.