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Two explorers become aware there is a monster on their ship as they return to earth from a new planet. They retreat section by section but every attempt to block it fails until they are trapped in the sleeping quarters. They then realise there must have been a chemical on the planet which causes them to hallucinate but they know that if your brain thinks you been killed then you are good as dead.I won't spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't read it. I recall vaguely that the author had written other clever short stories.

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  • I'm newish here and need to see where it says it's OK for spoilers. It's such a nice ending. Is there a private message way ?
    – Colin Kerr
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 23:35
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    Never mind, I think your story is "Ghost V" by Robert Sheckley.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 23:41
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    You can read it at the Internet Archive Is that the one?
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 23:44
  • @user14111 You should know to publish this as an answer, as comments are not searchable.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 25, 2022 at 6:30
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    I suspect @user14111 is correct. Interesting how a distant memory is distorted. I have got it from the archive and will read it so am OK if this post is deleted. That's now 3 very old stories I've described sketchily and inaccurately yet they've been identified ! Thanks people !
    – Colin Kerr
    Commented Dec 25, 2022 at 21:59

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