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The Dueling Machine

Ben Bova and Myron R. Lewis

Book Overview: 

The Dueling Machine is the solution to settling disputes without injury. After you and your opponent select weapons and environments you are injected into an artificial reality where you fight to the virtual death… but no one actually gets hurt. That is, until a warrior from the Kerak Empire figures a way to execute real-world killings from within the machine. Now its inventor Dr. Leoh has to prevent his machine from becoming a tool of conquest.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .This is the supreme moment of my life."

"To date, major. Only to date. There will be other moments, even higher ones. Come, let's go inside. We have many plans to discuss ... more duels ... more triumphs."

They all filed in to Kanus' huge, elaborate office. The leader walked across the plushly ornate room and sat at the elevated desk, while his followers arranged themselves in the chairs and couches placed about the floor. Odal remained standing, near the doorway.

Kanus let his fingers flick across a small control board set into his desktop, and a tri-dimensional star map glowed into existence on the far wall. As its center were the eleven stars that harbored the Kerak Worlds. Around them stood neighboring stars, color-coded to show their political groupings. Off to one side of the map was the Acquataine Cluster, a rich mass of stars—wealthy, powerful, the most important political and economic power in the section of the galaxy. Until ye. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read the original short story published in Analog in 1963 not the expanded novel.
The dueling machine has eliminated violence from society, people (actually it’s all men, typical SF from 1963!) who have a grievance can solve their dispute in the machine without any injury....until a duel between re

This is classic science fiction and (in part) reminds me of another book "The World of Null-A" by A. E. Van Vogt where a computer is controlling and limiting the level of violence in society.

The story: dueling still exists in order to settle debts of honor, but such duels no longer take place in re

There are two versions of this story with the same title by Ben Bova. The first one is a novella, about sixty pages long, which first appeared in the May 1963 edition of Analog. This version lists Myron R. Lewis as Bova's co-writer. The short one is the version probably ninety percent of those who b

An interesting story about the us eof the duel top settle personal conflicts in the future. Of course it's safe as it is all in the imagination of the combatants however recently people are starting to die.

Why is this hapenning and how is one man responsible for so many deaths in the machine ?


I've heard the name of this author so many times, finally I've decided to give him a try with a short story and now I understand why his name keeps showing up.
Even as a short story it was great.
Totally recommended.

Almost a year later:
Just discovered that this is a trilogy so please disregard my re

The Dueling Machine is a novel by Ben Bova from 1969. It is part of his loose Watchman quartet about a space opera future where Terra dominates the galaxy. This story is set around the use of a psychotronic device capable of two participants entering a virtual reality with almost universal sensory i

Much more vanilla than the premise would suggest. Scientist Leoh has inventing a dueling machine in order to help people settle the conflicts and irrationality that come from living a life of leisure and prosperity. two people can go at it no-holds barred in a dream world with no lasting effects. Ho

An interesting invention which creates a shared reality between 2 people. It brings back dueling as a form of honor since it is safe, but then something goes wrong & the inventor is brought in to fix it while the fate of planets hangs in the balance. As the frustrations mount, the stakes grow higher

Curioso romanzo di Bova che, sebbene scritto nel 1966, mi dava l'impressione, durante la lettura, di essere almeno di vent'anni più datato, probabilmente a causa di alcune "leggerezze" ed ingenuità nello sviluppo della trama. La storia, divisa in tre parti, ripercorre gli intrighi politici e le mire

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