Looking for the title/author of a science fiction short story.

The protagonist was a dissident in captivity. The government had the ability to kill him and bring him back to life multiple times. They tortured him to death multiple times (boiling in oil, crushing, etc.) and made him clean up his own corpse afterwards.

In the beginning, he wanted to convince them that he was no longer a dissident to get them to stop, at the end, he no longer feared death, and gave a speech convincing some listeners that the government was wrong. He was shipped off to a colony world at the end, since they didn't believe in capital punishment.


That's 'A Thousand Deaths' by Orson Scott Card; your recollection of the details is quite accurate.

It ties in with a number of his other stories, but can be read stand-alone.

It may be found other places, but I first read it in: Flux: Tales of Human Futures

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    There was an episode of Stargate: SG-1 based on that short-story, where Ba'al repeatedly tortured Colonel O'Neill to death, only to resurrect him with the sarcophagus and continue the torture. – James Sheridan Jun 10 '14 at 2:13
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    "They resurrect you and kill you, again and again" Chilling story. Brilliant though and like "Kingsmeat" a thought provoking one that is ignored by many readers who would love it due to Card's reputation. – Covertwalrus May 17 '15 at 3:59
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    @Covertwalrus In common with many other of his stories that are quite good and have no relation to the author's...eccentricities. OTOH he does have some that are thinly veiled preaching of various absurd or repellent opinions. – bp. Dec 27 '16 at 2:50
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    That dissident story has often haunted me. Uncle Orson is a Michael Angelo; vivid parable of the atonement. I met Mr. Card twice , at a UofU graduation then a B&N book signing. Genuine, down-to-earth, gifted with hyper-speed wit and perception. Very helpful to everyone in line who had an interest in writing. (His wife was delightful as well.) He even teared up recollecting the inspiration for one of his stories that I asked him about. Seemed like he'd have had us all over to dinner if he had the time. – user97704 Mar 11 '18 at 15:54

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