Human Is

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First published in Startling Stories Winter 1955

Lester Herrick is a mean and bitter scientist until he returns from a trip to Rexor IV a changed man. Suddenly he enjoys spending time with his nephew, loves to cook and shows affection to his wife Jill for the first time in five years. 

It’s obvious to everyone his body was taken over by a Rexorian, and the Clearance agents intend to destroy the alien, retrieve the true Lester from Rexor IV and set things back to how they were before he left. Before they can do that they have to prove in court he isn’t human. They expect his wife Jill to testify to the change she saw in him. Instead, choosing this affectionate alien to take the place of her husband, she claims she never noticed anything odd, and this Lester is allowed to live.

“Human Is” was adapted for the first season of Electric Dreams where the costumes and production design look like community theater. The husband is a military officer instead of a scientist, but otherwise the story is the same. 

Cast of characters

  • Lester Herrick – a toxicologist for the military
  • Jill Herrick – Lester’s wife
  • Frank – Jill’s brother
  • Gus – Jill’s nephew
  • Clearance Director Douglas