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"There's no point in making a mistake unless you understand the mistake so that you donít make it again."
- Alfred Bester

Skinsuit  
  Wearable artificial, full-body skin.  

Nobody but me and my doctor and Sherman know which of my organs and limbs are my own, and I'm happy to keep it that way. I must care, or I wouldn't live in this lying skinsuit pretending to be a film star from the year 2034. That's right; the me everybody knows is patterned, down to the last birthmark, on a glamor queen we snatched from a terrorist explosion...

I should insert a grateful little plug here for those wonderful folks who brought us the skinsuit. Cut it: it bleeds. Stroke it: it responds just like the skin you used to have or takes the place of the skin it's covering.

You're never aware you're wearing it. You can't feel it; you feel with it. It's semi-alive itself, and it works on some kind of symbiotic relationship with whatever's left of one's body.

A handy thing about it is that it's a great deal more malleable than real skin. It can be reset to new features if the need arises. In the snatch teams, it often does.

From Millenium, by John Varley.
Published by Berkley Books in 1983
Additional resources -

Here's another except:

What first made me like him was his skinsuit. I'm not sure how old he was, but it must have been the early twenties. It was rumored that he had just about every mutated disease it was possible to have and still retain a brain, but one hears those rumors about a lot of people. I thought it was likely he was closer to gnome hood than I was, even though I was older. And yet he chose to wear a skinsuit that made him look like a man in his early sixties...

Compare to skin suit from Dinosaur Beach (1971) by Keith Laumer, transkin from Parasite Planet (1931), by Stanley G. Weinbaum, kloraderm from Old Man's War (2005), by John Scalzi, the diveskin from Starfish (1999) by Peter Watts and skintight from War Dogs (2014), by Greg Bear.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Millenium
  More Ideas and Technology by John Varley
  Tech news articles related to Millenium
  Tech news articles related to works by John Varley

Skinsuit-related news articles:
  - MIT's Second Skin Enhances Original Skin

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