I seem to associate this story with van Vogt and the 1940s. Space trips are so long humans are forced to switch bodies with simians while their own bodies are in suspended animation. This involves some kind of sacrifice on the part of the astronauts - can't remember just why. Eventually faster trips are possible and the practice is abandoned. The last line describes a statue dedicated to the scientist who developed the process: 'At the base of the statue is a terrified ape with a man with the face of a god standing above him' - something like that. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

1 Answer 1


This is Father of the Stars by Frederik Pohl.

Description of the body-switching

The smith process allowed these men to use their minds to control chimpanzee bodies-easily bred, utterly expendable- while their own bodies rested in the deep-freeze for all the long years between the stars.

It ends

The bas-relief and the body, they are ape. But the statue that rises above them is a god's.

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    Readable in the Nov. 1964 issue of Worlds of If at the Internet Archive: archive.org/details/1964-11_IF/page/n109/mode/1up
    – DavidW
    Dec 12, 2020 at 0:03
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    Is this the same story where a billionaire is funding space travel research? He has some terminal disease that is slowly killing him. His doctors keep him on a strict diet. He looks forward to the days when death is inevitable and he can eat whatever he wants. He refuses to fund Faster Than Light (FTL) research because it's impossible. But he learns that FTL has been developed when a chimp says "evidel" which is the closest to FTL he can pronounce. I've been meaning to ask about that one.
    – Pete
    Dec 12, 2020 at 0:36
  • @Pete On reflection, I think this story is the one you are thinking of. It has the "evidal" thing and while I don't think the word billionaire is used, the protagonist inherited wealth and used it to finance the STL travel. He's old and eating pap at the beginning of the story. Dec 12, 2020 at 1:33
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    Thank you, [10 chars]
    – Pete
    Dec 12, 2020 at 2:08
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    Thanks, Organic Marble! It is Pohl's story - and was I off as to the time frame! Thanks again. Dec 12, 2020 at 7:04

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