I recently emailed Analog recently concerning a series of stories published in their mag in the early to mid-1980's (IIRC). The current Analog staff was less than helpful-- "...we need a bit more information in order to help you (author name, title, or issue)"-- but suggested I try asking around SF forums.

I remember reading at least three stories by the same author centered on a sort of teleportation which destroyed the original object or body and constructed a copy at the receiving end. The stories dealt in part with the social and religious aspects of such a means of travel and transport. The story I remember reading last in the series involved the transmitted information of an individual being hijacked and stored in a computer where the character came to realize he was living a virtual existence (a sort of cross between Philip K. Dick's Ubik and The Matrix).

I'd like to know if the series continued and whether the stories were ever anthologized or cobbled together into novel form. I'd like to re-read the stories. But lacking info as to author, titles, actual dates of publication, etc. doesn't get one very far.

Any recollections of pertinent information-- especially author and story titles-- would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


That is the Reformed Sufi series by Ray Brown, consisting of the following stories:

Apparently these stories are only available in the original magazines; if they have been reprinted anywhere, the ISFDB doesn't know about it. Analog copies of that vintage are readily available for $4 and up including postage within the U.S., a better buy than the current issue.

Here is an excerpt from "A Change of Employment":

Transmat, Inc. and the Reformed Sufi Movement, he thought, seeing the familiar logos for each imprinted on the backs of his eyelids. They went together. Wherever you found a Transmat branch, there was a Meditation Center not far away. Reformed Sufism was an American import, a product of the Magickal tradition, and thus offensive to many Europeans on two counts. Even so, it was now a company requirement—you had to be a Reformed Sufi to work for them. That had got them into trouble here, but they hadn't abandoned it.

Another one from "A Change of Employment":

"I haven't said no," said Flaherty, "but I do know how the transmat works, after all. Your company's very name for it is a lie. It doesn't transmit matter, it transmits information. You get into a booth and you're scanned for the most probable state and position of the subatomic particles that make you up, and that scanning process destroys that arrangement of particles—vaporizes you. A new body is assembled at the receiving booth out of new matter. But the person who entered the first booth is dead."

And one from "Identity Crisis":

"OK," Bentz said, shrugging, "maybe not. But I think we have an excellent chance here of clearing up the question once and for all. What if one of us were to walk out there without a suit?" He pointed at the airlock.

"Then that person would die a very ugly death," Yuan said.

Bentz ignored him. "I need a volunteer," he yelled. "Someone to go out the airlock suitless!"

Most of the men on the bridge became particularly busy at that moment. A few laughed nervously.

[. . .]

He opened his eyes, nodded, and without speaking opened the inner airlock door and shut it behind him. He heard the sound of air being pumped out. He gulped and waited for his ears to start hurting. Nothing.

He decided to open the outer hatch without waiting any longer, wondering whether he'd be blown through.

He wasn't.

He grasped the outside of the hatchway. The metal felt cold, but not especially so, and wet. He pulled himself through the hatchway and out a manhole on DeWitt Street, Octopus Bay, Aycee Four. A Bentz look-alike in Adept's gear squatted nearby, looking very sad and apologetic.

  • 2
    Thanks user14111, that is exactly what I was looking for. Using the info you initially supplied I was able to track down the Analog issues in which the stories appeared (and I am considering purchase of said issues).
    – springheel
    Dec 1 '13 at 12:08
  • Thanks user14111, but that's really cooking my noodle now is: Was Ray the alias Richard G. took to publish these novel? Sorry, no research what so ever, just a deja vu, because I read Digital Fortress years ago, checked the bio of Dan Brown to find out his dad was Richard G. Brown, Professor of mathematics, so Dan must have been 18yo in 1982 :-)
    – MK5
    Oct 16 at 4:11

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