About 25 to 30 years ago I remember reading a short story in which the protagonist was in a society where, at a certain age, people's brains were replaced by an egg-like silver sphere.

The main character was very worried about this process, and even though others who'd had the procedure done said there was nothing to worry about, throughout the story the protagonist rebelled against the concept. I can't remember the ending or anything else about the story, except that the concepts of personal identity and losing oneself seemed to be central to the theme. I appreciate any help in identifying this!

marked as duplicate by FuzzyBoots story-identification Aug 8 at 10:55

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  • It was a hard choice, but the other question and answer felt more detailed. – FuzzyBoots Aug 8 at 10:55

It seems very similar to the short story Learning To Be Me by Greg Egan. It was fist published in Interzone #37 in July 1990 and included in the short story collection Axiomatic.

In this story humans a small jewel (rather than a silver sphere) implanted at birth which learns to mimic the brain patterns of the host. In early adulthood (after the brain is fully developed but before degradation can start) the brain is removed and the jewel takes over the brain's functions.

Although seen as normal by most of society, the main character is afraid of the process. He also distinguishes between the real person and the jewel - this is seen as perverse in the society of the short story.

  • That's the story! Thank you very much! I just read it, and this was exactly what I'd been trying to remember (which is ironic, given the subject matter of the story.) I'm not certain where the silver sphere portion came from, but this is definitely the story. – Robert Jun 3 '14 at 18:26

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