While reading this question, I recalled that I had read a similar story in my English textbook. The details were a bit different from this question though.
An alien (who I think is a convict) convinces a human to exchange consciousnesses with it because it wants to be free. The human appears to be reluctant but at the end, it is revealed that

the human is suffering from some disease and will die soon and is happy to have gone through with the exchange.

I read it ~10 years ago at school and some of the details are probably wrong.


"Dear Pen Pal" aka "Letter from the Stars", a short story by A. E. van Vogt; available for free at the Internet Archive.

Dear Pen Pal:

Thanks a lot for forcing the issue. For a long time I hesitated about letting you play such a trick on yourself. You see, the government scientists analyzed the nature of that first photographic plate you sent me, and so the final decision was really up to me. I decided that anyone as eager as you were to put one over should be allowed to succeed.

Now I know I didn't have to feel sorry for you. Your plan to conquer Earth wouldn't have gotten anywhere, but the fact that you had the idea ends the need for sympathy.

But this time you will have realized for yourself that a man who has been paralyzed since birth, and is subject to heart attacks, cannot expect a long life span. I am happy to tell you that your once-lonely pen pal is enjoying himself, and I am happy to sign myself with a name to which I expect to become accustomed.

With best wishes

  • It's been so long, I'd even forgotten that it was epistolary. Thanks for the Internet Archive link! :)
    – sudhanva
    May 22 '18 at 4:00

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