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I read a sci f- short story in the 80s that I'd like to find. It's not "Unwelcome Tenant" by Roger Dee, although it has many similarities. Here's what I remember:

  • It could have been written anytime before 1988. I would guess 50s or 60s as most likely.
  • The protagonist somehow discovers invisible bean-shaped creatures on everyone's head.
  • He somehow removes his own, and discovers everyone is repulsed by him, and he feels repulsion to everyone else.
  • He works on freeing other people from their parasites, but few agree, and they are equally repulsive to those with parasites.
  • Eventually figures out he's now being influenced by a different being, perhaps called "Grrr".
  • Grrr seems more like some kind of octopus somewhere in the universe, with 'psychic tentacles' or something that reach across the stars to his head. (Yeah, it's a bit weird)
  • He discovers if he somehow 'crushes' one of the invisible bean-like parasites, it acts like a helmet, preventing either Grrr or the beans from attaching to his head and influencing him.
  • With the helmet, there's less repulsion between him and other people with parasites.
  • Not sure how it ends. Could be some kind of journey (real or imagined) across the universe to confront and destroy Grrr, who turns out to be a small jellyfish-looking thing in a puddle on a distant planet.

This was probably in some sort of sci-fi short story collection, but apparently none of the ones still remaining in my possession after all this time.

marked as duplicate by amflare, fez, eshier, Politank-Z, Bellatrix Aug 17 '17 at 17:24

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  • Reminds me a lot of Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, but that's a novel from the 50's. – Tim Aug 17 '17 at 1:39
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Pretty sure this is a duplicate of this question; Novel with psychic parasites from Earth. Originally, a novella by Jack Vance, The Brains of Earth, published in 1966.The protagonist, a scientist named Paul Burke finds out about the parasites, attached to people's heads. Crushing a parasite on the head forms a barrier to other parasites. The people with parasites are repulsed by those without.The parasites are named gher from the sound they make. I'm pretty sure there's a "psychic" journey to the origin of the parasites, the puddle.

  • A novel by Colin Wilson; The Mind Parasites. Has a lot of similarities in plot. It was published in 1967. – KenM Aug 17 '17 at 2:43
  • I wouldn't have called it a 'short story' . It was at least a couple hundred pages. I had it years ago as a paperback. Nowadays it would probably be called a novella – DannyMcG Aug 17 '17 at 14:19

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