Think Yourself to Death by Stephen Marlowe
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If you've never read a Johnny Mayhem story before, you are in for a treat. Johnny, who wears different bodies the way ordinary people wear clothes, is one of the most fascinating series characters in science fiction.
When he reached Ophiuchus, Johnny Mayhem was wearing the body of an elderly Sirian gentleman.
Nothing could have been more incongruous. The Sirian wore a pince-nez, a dignified two-piece jumper in a charcoal color, sedate two-tone boots and a black string-tie.
The loiterers in the street near the Galactic Observer's building looked, and pointed, and laughed. Using the dignity of the dead Sirian, whose body he wore like other people wear clothing, Johnny Mayhem ignored them. They had a point, of course. It was hot and humid on Ophiuchus IX. The loiterers in the dusty, evil-smelling streets wore nothing but loin cloths.
Mayhem went inside the building, which was air-conditioned. Probably it was the only air-conditioned structure on the entire planet. Mayhem dabbed at his Sirian forehead gratefully, mopping at sweat. As near as he could figure, his life expectancy in this body was down to three days, Earth style. He wondered fleetingly why the Galactic League had sent him here to Ophiuchus. He shrugged, knowing he would find out soon enough.
The Galactic Observer on Ophiuchus IX, a middle-aged Indian from Bombay named Kovandaswamy, wore an immaculate white linen loin cloth on his plump body and a relieved smile on his worried face when Mayhem entered his office. The two men shook hands.
"So you're Mayhem?" Kovandaswamy said in English. "They told me to expect you, sir. Pardon my staring, but I've never been face to face with a legend before. I'm impressed."
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