In the story it is easier to "terraform" humans to live on this planet than to change the planet.

The humans end up looking like the local life forms...crablike creatures.

None of the converted humans ever come back, so they change a soldier to send him out and find out what happened to the others...

Any help?


  • Do you recall what length? I have a vague memory of a short story with a similar plot--though the colonists may have been inhabiting the bodies virtually. Took place on some moon in the solar system. Dec 22, 2011 at 1:21
  • There is a book, Total Eclipse that matches you description...by John Brunner. This was a short story and the people were physically changed...it was a methane world that humans couldn't live on...I think...gah...sorry...I don't think they were virtually in the bodies as the story is about how nobody came back.
    – Gavin
    Dec 22, 2011 at 4:23

2 Answers 2


Sounds a bit like Desertion by Clifford D. Simak.


1944—One of the first science fiction stories about pantropy (the word had not yet been coined) was the short story "Desertion," by Clifford D. Simak, which appeared in the November 1944 Astounding Science Fiction. In this story, human colonists living in a domed city on the planet Jupiter are put through a biological converter that converts their bodies into the form of the indigenous Jovian lifeform called the "Lopers." The head director of the domed colony, Kent Fowler, wondering why none of those biologically converted ever come back, goes into the biological converter himself with his dog and finds that the reason they never come back is that the Lopers have brains and senses so much in advance of humans that they don't want to come back. He also finds that he is able to completely accurately telepathically communicate with his dog Towser (whose intelligence has also greatly increased) after going through the converter. He himself decides not to go back.[1]b

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