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Trying to find a short science-fiction story from 1950s/60s that is an early example of body surfing / mind uploading .

Thief gets control of a device(chair?) that allows him to take over the body of another person within a distance of 100-200m. The person's soul is pushed out/dies.

This criminal starts committing perfect crimes such as taking over banker's body stealing money then banker is found dead(after the criminal jumped to a different body).

A trap is sprung on the criminal by providing a very tempting candidate to steal the body from.

When the criminal steals this body he finds that the body belongs to a death row inmate who is about to be electrocuted.

Could not find the story in the following sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading_in_fiction http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BodySurf

I read it in Soviet anthology of American Sci-fi in early 1980s, but lack of technological details point to 1950s.

5

"Seat of Oblivion", a novelette by Eric Frank Russell, part of my (unaccepted) answer to this old question; first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, November 1941, available at the Internet Archive.

Thief gets control of a device(chair?) that allows him to take over the body of another person within a distance of 100-200m. The person's soul is pushed out/dies.

The thief's name is Jensen. Here he's eavesdropping on a conversation between the inventor and his backer:

Fatty's name was Blenkinsop and he addressed the other sometimes as Wane, sometimes as Doctor. The machine, of which Jensen had managed to catch a momentary glimpse through the crack, was a highly polished and complicated affair that bore slight resemblance to a computer-panel surmounted by a hair-dryer. It was fitted to a high-backed chair and a thick cable connected it with the electric mains.

[. . . .]

"But this can liberate the psyche of any person. It's a major breakthrough."

"Who wants to liberate his psyche? Who'll pay to have it done and how much will he pay? Hell, pigs can fly these days so what's the use of an automatic psyche-liberator? If I go to see Maisie in the south of France, I go in person, flesh, blood, clothes and all. What would be the sense of sending her my astral body? She couldn't have fun with a ghost."

"You forget," said Wane, his voice rising, "that the gain in life-power is so great that the affected personality can escape and literally take over any other living body it desires, ejecting the natural owner forever—unless, of course, the owner happens to have received treatment giving him power equal or greater."

"That's body-snatching," defined Blenkinsop with another obese grin. "You've developed three or four excellent things in your time but now you've slipped up. I can't make two percent out of a mechanical body-snatcher and I'm not interested in the thing."

[. . . .]

"Ah, Blenkinsop—you've killed him!"

"That's right. I've shut his trap for keeps. It was easy."

Wane brooded in silence awhile, then said, "Without a doubt you will be punished for that."

"Hah!" said Jensen. He leaned forward. "Listen Pop or Professor or whatever you like to be called. I've heard all about this contraption of yours. Porky was no fool and he was ready to believe it really works. I could tell that you knew it does really work. That's fine! That's topnotch! You are going to be my fairy godmother."

"In what way?"

"You're going to help me get a nice new body."

A trap is sprung on the criminal by providing a very tempting candidate to steal the body from. When the criminal steals this body he finds that the body belongs to a death row inmate who is about to be electrocuted.

"I went to the authorities and reported everything," Wane went on. "As happened, they had just located Rapalli and were planning to take him. They agreed to my suggestion and held off while I used him as bait. My advertisement appeared in a score of papers for ten days before you swallowed the hook. I then made the appointment on which you insisted. I made it here, at Rapalli's hide-out, and the powers-that-be kindly arranged to have the facing room across the street made vacant. Immediately you rented it and moved in with the projector we knew we'd got you where we wanted you." Again he brushed back his white hair. His expression was tired. "Now I shall destroy my device."

"Come along, Rapalli," growled one of the four. He clamped a powerful hand on Jensen's forearm.

"I'm not Rapalli," shouted Jensen, his features livid. "I'm . . . I'm—"

"Well, who are you?" The questioner registered a craggy smile. "You've got Rapalli's face and fingerprints. You've got his body and that's all the law wants, all the law intends to punish."

"Damn you!" yelled Jensen as the cuffs clicked on his wrists. His infuriated eyes discovered Wane going out through the door; he struggled violently, tugging and kicking and using obscene language.

  • Thank you so much! This story is even earlier than I thought. – Sint Oct 17 '17 at 7:39
  • You're welcome! – user14111 Oct 17 '17 at 7:40

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