I read a science fiction collection that included a story called Metamorphosis, about a society where everyone has an imbedded medical analyzer. The main character of the story goes through a physical transformation process (maybe growing a horn?), the analyzer keeps telling him something is different and tries several times to convince him to go to the doctor but he doesn't want to. It goes so far as to reroute the character's car in order to force him into a medical examination. He jumps out of the car and starts running through the forest and ends up meeting a female who is going through the same process.

There were so many great stories in this collection, I'd like to try to find it again. This one just stands out because I can remember the title.

  • Could you be a bit more detailed with the "analyzer" involved in the story you remember? (was it hand-held, or always in a single location?)
    – Boolean
    Oct 14, 2020 at 17:07
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/261856/… (which is newer and has an answer acknowledged as correct via comment)
    – Otis
    Apr 1, 2022 at 23:14

1 Answer 1


The story is "Mythological Beast" by Stephen Donaldson of Thomas Covenant fame.
You can find a copy of the story here at Google Books (thanks @FuzzyBoots) Not much of a summary, but what I found (from Best of Stephen Donaldson)

I will skip lightly over ‘Mythological Beast’ which was a slight story about a man in a safe, secure future world turning into a unicorn. Deftly handled but basically silly.

I rememembered reading it and couldn't recall the circumstances, but I know I read Daughter of Regals which contains it. From early in the story:

The tight lump in the center of his forehead made no sense to him. he had never seen it before. Automatically, he checked his biomitter, but again it said, You are OK. That seemed true enough. He did not feel ill--and he was almost the only person he knew who knew what "ill" meant. The lump did not hurt in any way. But still he felt vaguely uneasy. he trusted the biomitter. It should have been able to tell him what was happening.

As you can see, the details are a little off. The biomitter keeps telling him he's fine, but he knows he isn't. Eventually turning into a unicorn and running into the woods.

I've seen several reviews refer to Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis when discussing the story. ISFDB has a long list of places it has been published, but mainly it is in Daughter of Regals and in a themed anthology, Unicorns!.

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