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Unusually for such a request, I think I know the title: “The Deserter”. Trouble is that ISFDB lists seven short stories with that title.

Setting is one of the cold planets. To explore it, people are sent out in new bodies suited to the environment. Not one of them has returned or reported, and no trace can be found of their fate; at least they did not die nearby.

In the end, the viewpoint character goes out, with a dog, and immediately understands: his new brain is so much roomier that he hates the idea of being squashed back into his old one. The dog can now talk, too.

The last lines of the story are, roughly: “I'll have to go back eventually, but not yet; they will make me be a dog again.” “And they will make me be a man.”

I'd guess that this is the one by Poul Anderson, because it fits his tragic mode, and because if he wrote it I have probably read it. (Anderson also wrote “Call Me Joe” which shares some elements, so I may be confused.) Can you confirm?

1
  • “Missed it by that much!” Apr 20 '20 at 1:11
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The story is Desertion, by Clifford Simak. I read this last week, so I pretty much remember it. I'm not a fan of City, but I really liked this short story.

Setting is one of the cold planets. To explore it, people are sent out in new bodies suited to the environment. Not one of them has returned or reported, and no trace can be found of their fate; at least they did not die nearby.

On Jupiter, were the gravity is high and the atmosphere is thick. Humans cannot survive as humans, but they can be changed via a machine into lopers, a native life-form. This change is safely reversible.

This partly agrees with your description.

The military leader of the base, Fowler, has sent out four or five soldiers, none of them have returned. The woman in charge of the machine that changes the people is disgusted at at the leader when he commands her to prepare the machine for two. He indicates that it will be him and Towser, his old pet dog.

In the end, the viewpoint character goes out, with a dog, and immediately understands: his new brain is so much roomier that he hates the idea of being squashed back into his old one. The dog can now talk, too.

When he goes out, he finds that the climate is wonderful, because his new body is made for it. Instead of a raging storm, it is a mild mist.

And he is surprised that Towser can talk with him now, through telepathy. He also finds he is more intelligent.

This agrees with your description.

The last lines of the story are, roughly: “I'll have to go back eventually, but not yet; they will make me be a dog again.” “And they will make me be a man.”

At the end of the story, he doesn't want to go back. The conversation is:

"I can't go back," said Towser.

"Nor I," said Fowler.

"They would turn me back into a dog," said Towser.

"And me," said Fowler, "back into a man."

This agrees with your description.

I'd guess that this is the one by Poul Anderson, because it fits his tragic mode, and because if he wrote it I have probably read it. (Anderson also wrote “Call Me Joe” which shares some elements, so I may be confused.) Can you confirm?

The story is by Clifford Simak, but he wrote in about the same time-frame as Anderson, and is also one of the great writers of science fiction.

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Sounds like one of the stories in "City" by Clifford D. Simak. This is a collection of linked short stories about the future of mankind.

According to Wikipedia the story I'm thinking of was first published on its own as "Desertion"

This story has previously been identified in Story: Humans transform themselves into the indigenous life form on a Venus-like planet.

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  • This is certainly it; the quoted last line in the question is slightly off but nails it. Apr 19 '20 at 11:50
  • The planet is Jupiter.
    – NomadMaker
    Apr 19 '20 at 15:50

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