It's a bit like District 9 in that regard, I guess. However, the aliens are even stranger. I think they're quadrupedal. Maybe their tongues are long, I don't remember. I also remember there may have been copulation between the transformed protagonist and a member of the alien species.

The aliens have very distinct senses, which the protagonist discovers in much detail. Possibly their sight or something with their tongues.

The events happen on the alien's planet. The point of the story is one of appreciation for completely alien cultures - the humans come as conquerors, and one of them learns to live with the "natives" (once he becomes one of them).

Based on when I read it, it must have been written somewhere in the 20th century, probably before 1990.

It's none of the books on this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Shapeshifting_in_fiction

I'm sorry for being so vague, but this is all I can remember.

  • 7
    Alien horse sex and body transformation? Sounds like something by Jack Chalker. Oddly enough, that's not enough to pin it down to a single book. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 19:16
  • @ImaginaryEvents, I have so far not found anything in synopses of Chalker's novels that sounds like what I'm looking for.
    – guest
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 19:57
  • I was going to suggest John Varley's Gaea trilogy, but it doesn't seem to fit. Although one character starts to turn into a Titanide, he isn't very far along by the time the series ends. Also, none of the humans arrive as conquerors.
    – Pixel
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 21:22
  • 1
    Decades ago I read an episode of a story in an SF magazine that vaguely matches. The protagonist is in detention after some alien encounter (discussed in a previous episode that I missed) and at nights he dreams he's a centaur like creature and romps with a female centaur. The episode ended with him turning into a saucer like creature and blasting out of the prison. I read no previous or subsequent episodes, so it may be unrelated, but the horse sex fits! I've ransacked my collection, but sadly that magazine has gone missing. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 9:21
  • Shouldn't have supplied the horse sex bit! It seems to be overly salient. The story had a lot of him simply discovering his new senses. And no, it's not yours, because he's very much unlike a centaur. He doesn't have hands, but rather I think some hoof-like thing. Thanks for ransacking your collection though!
    – guest
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


Sounds a bit like Jack Chalker's "Web of the Chozen". (1982, ISBN-10: 0345304551)

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A spacer named Bar Holliday crash lands on an alien planet that is populated by "Choz", quadrupedal, deerlike creatures that turn out to have been genetically modified humans. Apparently they were a religious colony fleeing an oppressively totalitarian society, and their ship's AI decided the best way for them to be eternally peaceful was to be transformed into these grazing animals on a savanna world with no predators and a perfect climate. Like you mentioned, they use their tongues to manipulate objects, they can also spit a substance that forms into cobwebs, and they have modified vision that is color-coded depending (one color for food items, another for living beings, etc). The transformative virus changes Holliday into a Choz, too, which he fights against at first, but gradually comes to accept.

The difference is that Holliday didn't come as a conqueror, but he does engineer a way to leave the planet and after some fighting with another human colony, decides the best thing to do is turn the rest of humanity into Choz, too.


Perhaps you are thinking of "The Sparrow"? It focuses on a Jesuit priest who goes to live in an alien culture, and is physically altered by the aliens.


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