I'm trying to find a short story about a man who swaps his body as a job - he does unpleasant tasks to make money. For example, he undergoes surgery while the other person uses his body, he goes to the bathroom so the person doesn't miss things for bathroom breaks, that kind of thing. After the job with the surgery goes bad (the rich old woman he swapped with doesn't want to give him back his body) his best friend (who is a body-swap cop) finds him a job as a personal trainer - he exercises a rich person's body while they do something else. Only the "something else" turns out to be "taking highly addictive drugs which mess up the body" so he murders the rich person and goes on the run from his best friend.

I may have read this in an Analog magazine.

It's older than 2010. Unfortunately my parents had an incredible library, so I'm not sure if it was from 2009 or 1970! I suspect it was from the 2000s but I'm not sure.

Seems very likely it was written by Kevin J. Anderson, who published a book using the same world building and probably some of the same characters. But there are slight differences in plot - the main character has his own original body, and that's why he's particularly upset about it being abused by this rich dude. At the end he murders the rich dude by taking drugs using the rich dude's body which has no tolerance, and then he goes on the run by swapping bodies constantly, hoping his cop friend won't track him. Plus I'm pretty certain it was a short story not a novel.

1 Answer 1


This is "Identity Crisis" (2000) by Kevin J. Anderson, published in Analog, September 2000.

The protagonist is Eduard, who swaps bodies with people who are willing to pay not to live through painful, traumatic or even sometimes merely boring experiences. His friend Daragon is has an intuitive power to determine who is in which body, and works for the Bureau of Tracing and Locations which tracks people's identities even as they switch bodies.

Eduard is first tricked into a one-year body swap contract by Madame Ruxton to recover from surgery for her. The trick is that she has less than a year left to live, and will inherit Eduard's body when he (in her body) dies. Daragon manages to get her to threaten him, and the threat of criminal proceedings over that is enough to induce her to return Eduard's body.

Eduard then becomes the personal trainer to Mordecai Ob, the chief of BTL and Daragon's boss. The problem this time is that Ob doesn't really want his body trained, what he wants is a body he can use an addictive and debilitating drug called Rush-X in. Eduard is distressed to find his body getting sicker and weaker on a daily basis, but doesn't know what's going on until it's almost too late. A day before Ob replaces Eduard with a new trainer, Eduard discovers the Rush-X and arranges for Ob to overdose his own body on Rush-X.

I don't recall this story, but a note at the start of the novel Hopscotch says it's a rewrite of "Identity Crisis" and "Club Masquerade," both published in Analog, and it was a matter of tracking them down to check.

  • 3
    It seems to have a lot on common with Mindswap by Robert Sheckley (although Mindswap is not the answer).
    – Jon B
    May 1, 2023 at 3:59

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