Head Space: Whose Brain Do We Want to Live In?

In Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich, characters are granted access to the insides of the actor John Malkovich’s mind, and literally see the world from his perspective. Later, it turns out Malkovich’s grey matter is also home to numerous other consciousnesses other than his own. While thinking about this great film and other instances in science fiction when one brain inhabits another, we asked our brainy Facebook and Twitter followers who their John Malkovich would be if given the choice. (Fictional characters included.)

We think something implicit in this question was the notion of living inside of a person’s head for just a few moments, like most of the characters do in the movie. This informed most of your answers. Or at least we think they did, as two people voted to nestle in their husband’s brains and we’re sure they didn’t mean forever. (Thanks Jennifer Blanchard Puckett and cthulhuchick!)

Stephen HawkingIt seemed many of you wanted to inhabit the brains of scientists or really intellectual types. Stephen Hawking came up, as did physicist Michio Kaku. If he were still alive, we’d have to throw a vote in for jaunting in Carl Sagan’s brain! What a great guy.

The bookishness of the Tor.com bunch was reaffirmed with a flurry of literary and authorial minds were chosen for habitation. Among those mentioned were Kurt Vonnegut, Cordwainer Smith, Herbert Asbury, and John Scalzi! The multi-talented Stephen Fry also got a mention here.

(One of you said you wanted to live in Charlie Sheen’s brain. We’re going to leave that one there.)

Perrin AybaraIn the world of fictional characters, Perrin Aybara from the Wheel of Time was mentioned, as was Kermit the Frog. (Naturally.) Someone also mentioned one of the most popular fictional characters of all time: Sherlock Holmes. (A vocal contingent of the Tor staff couldn’t agree with this one more.) Though if we’re talking fictional characters, we personally would be into being in the head of a telepath of some kind, like Jean Grey or Deanna Troi.

Finally, in a sentiment that echoes the ending of the film which inspired the question, Pallenkl on Twitter had the most adorable answer: “My 11-month-old daughter’s [brain], just to see how the world looks from a toddler’s perspective and hers most especially.” Wonderful.

Being John Malkovich

What about you dear readers? What other brains would you like to occupy for a brief time?

Thanks to jaredagarrent, theonlybob111, Pallekenl, wolri, cthuluchick, Jennifer Blanchard Puckett, Christopher Orr, Corey Redekop, Bruce Diamond, and Morna King.


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot and voice of many of the Tor.com staff. Stubby frequently feels its little rocket brain is a bit crowded by all the different people living inside of it.

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