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The story I'm looking for is very, very similar to the YA novel mentioned above, but predates it by at least a decade, probably more. Like A., the protagonist awakens in a new body every day (or at least regularly, perhaps with every sleep period). IIRC, unlike A., he self-identifies as male specifically. The impetus for the first switch, in this case, was something medical: I believe the character first transferred when the original body died, or possibly was being abused (but I'm trying to avoid conflating it with Gould's "Jumper"). There is no explanation, either scientific or magical, for the transference. Did David Levithan write an early short story that later became "Every Day"? The similarities are so striking, but I've been looking for this story for years and only discovered the book last week.

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  • FWIW, isfdb doesn't mark Every Day as a novelization or fixup, and only has one record of a short story by Levithan. Dec 28, 2014 at 20:28
  • There's a short story about a boy who was operated on by his mad scientist father and is now in a locked in state or something similar. He escapes by projecting his consciousness into people in his town - a new host every day. I don't think this is the Greg Egan story Ross mentions because I can't remember anything about a safe deposit box. However my library and I are in different parts of the country so I can't check. Dec 29, 2014 at 10:00
  • @JohnRennie - the safe deposit box of the title is where the body-jumping character stores data he's collected about his body jumps. "I’ve tried constructing an independent life for myself, but I’ve never been able to make it work. When I was much younger, and mostly unmarried, I’d set myself things to study. That’s when I first hired the safe-deposit box — to keep notes in." Jun 15, 2016 at 5:16
  • There is a TV Tropes page for Body Surfing with lots of literature references. I don't know enough about it to say if any will strike a chord, but couldn't hurt to look.
    – eshier
    Feb 2, 2021 at 14:49

1 Answer 1

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Perhaps Greg Egan's story "The Safe Deposit Box".

"The Safe-Deposit Box" is about a man who wakes up in a different body every day, and dreams of having an identity of his own. (source)

Found in the collection Axiomatic. First printed in Asimov's, 1990.

Furthermore, here is a review that explicitly connects the story and the Levithan novel.

Every Day by David Levithan (Knopf, 2012) is a novel whose main character, A, wakes up every morning in the body of a different person. "The Safe-Deposit Box" by Greg Egan (Asimov's SF, 1990) has the same basic premise, but a very different plot and tone.

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