The setting of the story is about that any human being might be controlled/possessed at any time by unknown forces. Society as a whole seems to have adapted, there are even laws governing such incidents. Nevertheless, life is quite gruesome. I remember one scene in which it is described that people are killed by jumping to their deaths (into oversized meat grinders? I am not quite sure) while possessed.

The protagonist is a man who raped or molested a woman while possessed. Nobody believes him though, since such a thing never happened before. Although innocent, he is found guilty and becomes a "Liar" mark, maybe as tattoo or branding.

After some adventures he discovers that the possessions are in fact a technical feat by some group (or whatever).

  • 2
    Likely a dupe of this; Invisible alien race possess humans for sexual encounters - "Passengers" by Robert Silverberg
    – Valorum
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 18:51
  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Nice question, but you might be able to improve it by going through the suggestions to see if there are any other details you remember that you can edit in to the question. For example, when and where would you have read this?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 19:01
  • I don't recall any death by meat grinder in Passengers! Commented May 15, 2019 at 19:04
  • @JohnRennie - There isn't one. There's enough dissimilarity that I'm heavily doubting myself. One of the comments on my answer there mentions a story by Spider Robinson called "User Friendly" that seems far more gritty.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 19:14
  • 1
    User Friendly has a rape in it, but it happens after a women is released by the aliens, naked in downtown New York. The aliens definitely mistreat the humans, but there is no meat grinder in the story, and none of the protagonists rape anybody. I assumed this was Passengers myself. Annoyingly, I know I've read this, but I thought it was by Silverberg. Commented May 15, 2019 at 20:04

1 Answer 1


Possible duplicate of this question: Headdress to control another person. Sounds very much like Frederik Pohl's A Plague of Pythons. Human beings possessed by unknown forces at any time. The protagonist is branded with an H for hoaxer (not an L for Liar), because it happens at a place that is supposed safe from the possession. I don't remember a meat grinder being in the book, but it has been a while.

Image of cover that shows guy on billboard with H on head

  • More details available on the Wikipedia article.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 20:07
  • I agree that this is it. +1, nice job. Commented May 15, 2019 at 20:25
  • Thank you very much, that's it. I only read the german translation, in which he was probably called "Lügner" (=liar). Commented May 16, 2019 at 6:35

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.