I remember this story where it followed an alien in a society where long distance space travel was done by transferring your mind to another body on a distant planet. There were people who made a living by renting their bodies to be used by aliens traveling to their planet. The protagonist is a female alien so it's not "Mindswap". There was sex in it but it wasn't graphic.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. When did you read this? Was it a novel or a shorter story? Did you read it in a book, a magazine, an e-book, online...?
    – DavidW
    Feb 12 at 15:44
  • 1
    To help clarify, is there a twist in the story for the body-swapping for the plot? Stolen bodies, personality imprints, transfer errors? Or is it played entirely straight?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 12 at 16:02
  • Hi Tim and welcome to the SF&F SE :-) What really helps with IDing stories is little details, even things you might consider inconsequential. Can you remember any names, or places, or plot details? Anything that might jog a memory. Feb 12 at 16:04
  • There are several stories on this topic. Feb 12 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


It's been a ridiculous number of years since I read it, but this makes me think of Chaining the Lady, the second book of Piers Anthony's "Cluster" series.

Quoting the series' Wikipedia page:

The book opens with the discovery that Andromeda, the enemy galaxy of the first novel, has discovered the secret of involuntary hosting: a sufficiently higher-Kirlian aura can in effect possess an individual of a lower-Kirlian aura. This has enabled Andromeda to secretly infiltrate the highest levels of government in Sphere Sol and its allies and resurrect its plot to steal the energy of the Milky Way.

Melody of Mintaka, a direct descendant of Flint of Outworld and his Andromedan nemesis, has a Kirlian aura of well over 200. She is pressed into service to "possess" and interrogate a captured Andromedan transferee. Melody, hosted in the young and beautiful body of Yael of Dragon, must like her ancestor Flint find a way to defeat the Andromedan threat and save the galaxy.

So it matches a female alien protagonist, who mind-shares with hosts of other races as a form of space travel. Being an Anthony novel, it has lots of weird, not quite explicit, alien sex.

  • All of the books in the series have "hosting" as a concept, which is the borrowing of a host body by an alien mind; in earlier books this required the host to be brain-dead, but that was later relaxed to requiring a willing/voluntary host. This particular book extends this practice to an involuntary one as well.
    – Miral
    Feb 13 at 4:57
  • "There was sex in it but it wasn't graphic" makes it nearly 400% more likely to be Anthony, and this was the answer I was going to give.
    – jdunlop
    Feb 13 at 21:47

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