I'm trying to identify a short-story, definitely written before the 1980's.

The story was told in four parts;

1. There was a biography-like introduction which lays out the story; the bizarrely meteoric rise of a private soldier to President of Earth and his similarly mysterious assassination.

2. An alien consciousness is drifting around, flicking through various universes. It passes a universe of matter (ours, obviously) and is surprised to find intelligence. This confuses it as it usually only finds intelligent life in planes of energy. It drifts towards a life-form and is sucked into the head of a xenophobic American private soldier fighting in a future war against a Chinese invasion of the US. There's an incident where the soldier walks through a gas grenade without breathing apparatus. The Chinese (who're completely astounded by this) fire on the soldier and finally dispatch him with a grenade.

3. The entity, not realising that its host is a dying man (killed and dismembered by a grenade) begins to rebuild him out of dirt and individual atoms, eventually dragging itself out of the ground several years after the war has ended. He encounters a policeman and tells him to "Throw down your badge but keep your gun. You'll need it where we're going". The policeman, strangely mesmerised by his charisma, does as he's told.

4. Cut to a few years later. A group of insurgents/terrorists are watching the soldier (now President) give a speech. They have a psychic child who indicates that there's a second entity inside the President's head. The psychic shouts "Free!" and the entity returns to its own plane of existence. The soldier disappears in a puff of smoke.

  • So there is a President of Earth and there is a US that it at war with China? Or is this President of Earth a new position after the war is over?
    – Firebat
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 1:23
  • I'm not sure. From memory, the US repulse the Chinese invasion. The post-war segment is solely set in the US so he could have been the US President.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


This is "Entity Trap" by Fredric Brown.

As described by another searcher

An energy creature becomes trapped in the head of a soldier as he dies (the only remaining part of the soldier is his head after an explosion and the energy creature is "sucked in" and trapped by the matter when the soldier dies.) it is controlled by the memories of the dead soldier. Through the powers of the energy creature, it rebuilds the body and eventually becomes president of the united states but has a ultra nationalistic view of the world because of the memories within the head. Two other energy creatures eventually find the trapped energy creature and help free it. The only thing left of the man when the energy creature is freed is his head which falls on a table.

I have a feeling the Soldiers name was John Dix or similar. I read it in a book of short science fiction stories.


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