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The Dueling Machine (The Others #3)

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  296 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Dueling as a means of settling disputes has been revived by the invention of the dueling machine, which allows two adversaries to have at each other in the imaginary wrld of their choosing, with no danger to either other than humiliation and the loss of the point in dispute—until the Kerak Worlds found a way to kill with the machine. Unless a young Star Watchman can solve ...more
Paperback, Expanded edition, 256 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1963)
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This Machine Kills Secrets by Andy GreenbergThe Information by James GleickSumma technologiae by Stanisław LemReamde by Neal StephensonHoly Fire by Bruce Sterling
CSCI 4830 History and Future of Computing
21st out of 34 books — 2 voters
Blue Coyote Motel by Dianne HarmanThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingNumber 13 by M.G. Wells
Beach Reads 2012
197th out of 220 books — 167 voters

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Community Reviews

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Fred Hughes
Sep 04, 2015 Fred Hughes rated it really liked it
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 ?

Interesting tale. Finished in one day n!
Gary Foss
Jun 04, 2016 Gary Foss rated it really liked it
Shelves: soft-sci-fi, novella
This is a nice, quick fun read. There are, apparently, versions that are in an anthology because it's quite short, but I actually have a nostalgic reaction to those thin, pulp paperbacks that were a very popular medium for SF/F texts for so long. Moorcock, Lieber, et al. Before the full effects of word processors kicked in and editors decided their job was a marathon rather than a sprint. Nice to read something in that short, even spoon-fed format again.

With that in mind, we also get an interest
J.P. Lantern
Apr 30, 2014 J.P. Lantern rated it liked it
The plot is fairly straightforward--a man invents a machine that is used for horrible doings, and seeks to correct the misdeeds. The machine in question here is the titular dueling machine, which allows men to enter the imaginations of another and fight to the "death." In the dueling machine, death isn't the end, however, it's just a defeat--the problems start when the machine starts killing people for real.

It's sort of amusing now to think of such a device that ISN'T used for explicitly sexual
Artur Coelho
Feb 03, 2013 Artur Coelho rated it liked it
The Dueling Machine mostra-nos Ben Bova num cozinhado familiar dos ingredientes icónicos da ficção científica do género space opera na golden age. Num futuro distante, com a humanidade espalhada pela galáxica, cabe à frota espacial a manutenção da paz entre as colónias. Apesar de temida e poderosa, não chega em tempo útil aos recantos mais distantes da galáxia. Num desses recantos um tirano local, decalcado de Hitler, procura anexar os sistemas estelares próximos utilizando subterfúgios político ...more
Jonathon Dabell
The Duelling Machine has some pretty good ideas and is, on the whole, rather entertaining to read. Ben Bova demonstrates a nice eye for quirky detail, and puts across his futuristic vision with plenty of vim and verve. The two main areas of weakness in this book were, as far as I was concerned, the laboured attempts to inject humour and the rather clunky daliogue. One of the main characters - Lieutenant Hector - is portrayed as a bumbling, accident-prone hero, almost akin to Inspector Clouseau. ...more
Bruce E.
Jul 09, 2012 Bruce E. rated it liked it
Shelves: bova
In context, this is a fine book. Written in the 1960s, Bova envisions virtual reality in his dueling machine. Beyond that, however, it's something of a space opera. There's nothing wrong with that, mind you, but don't expect a great. literary work.

The central theme revolves. around the device in the title. The dueling machine allows folks to seek redress for offences in a "duel", hearkening back to medieval Earth, by placiing them into a virtual reality.

The "bad guys" find an exploit by which th
D.M. Dutcher
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. However a certain dictator has found a way to injure or even kill people using this machine, so Leoh must stop him along with the aid of clumsy lieutenant Hector.

Bova splits the book into three parts, a
Whitby Syme
May 16, 2010 Whitby Syme rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, audiobooks
This is available as a free audiobook on I listened to it in bed, in various states of semi-consciousness, over a couple of weeks. (It's a lot easier to stay awake when you're reading a book with the lights on than when you're lying down with your eyes closed in the dark.) That said, none of this does much to describe the book...

It was good. Solid 'Outer Limits'-style story with a couple of likable characters. The tension built well and I liked the finale.

In a sense it felt a bit l
Adrian Diglio
Jul 26, 2012 Adrian Diglio rated it really liked it
This novella was originally published in 1969, and considering how long ago that was, Ben Bova wrote this sci-fi adventure in a way that didn't get outdated by the technology of today.

I was able to purchase this as an ebook for free on Amazon, and it leads to some of his other full length novels. This was probably my first true introduction into sci fi (as my tastes favor fantasy) but it was still compelling and intriguing and made me want to read more of his work.

I only gave it 4 stars becaus
Carl Mayo
Dec 12, 2015 Carl Mayo rated it really liked it
Very fun read. Great concept -- a device similar to the holodeck on S.T. Voyager, but with a design flaw that allows it to be misused.
Alan Hopewell
Jun 05, 2013 Alan Hopewell rated it really liked it
In the past forty-one years, I've read this book four times, and I've had my eye open for a copy, so's I can read it again. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of action, humor, and tension in THE DUELING MACHINE, juvenile or not.

Much current science fiction is not to my tastes, for various reasons, but I've re-read tons of 50's to 70's SF, including the juvenile works of Heinlein, Asimov, Norton, and Bova (among others), and find them to still be enjoyable.

I'd always hoped someone would film THE
Veronica Lakewood
Oct 07, 2011 Veronica Lakewood rated it it was amazing
I happened upon thisbook in my jr High school library. A place I spent most of my time while attending school in another state while living with my gradmother for a short time.
I read this book before there was computers,cell phones or other technologies we take for granted in the 21 St century. Ben Bova successfully implemented virtual reality before all the technology of today became common place. An excellent read that btw is free download at amazon.
Sep 06, 2013 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
An interesting premise - in the future a duelling machine is created which allows people to settle their differences by fighting in a virtual world, keeping violence and aggression out of the real world. Politicians start to use it to get their way, and opponents start being injured or killed by the machine. The book itself, whilst short, was actually rather dull and the narrator had a monotone voice that didn't help.
People in this future take care of their personal differences in a virtual-reality dueling machine in which no one is actually hurt--until one duelists opponents start dying.
The book is more of a novella, pulpy, but nowhere near as shwashbukly as some of its contemporaries. I have not read any of the other books in the series, so I don't know how this one compares.
A pleasant, short read, but nothing special.
Parsons Parsons
eBook, Science Fiction, A imagine a universe where interstellar conflicts are now being resolved by world leaders entering cyber space and fighting in virtual worlds with bloodless duels. Now ask what happens when the rules of game change? This was Ben Bova's second novel. It accurately predicted the internet in the 1950's before man had even orbited the planet.
Feb 26, 2013 Tim rated it it was amazing
I am giving it 5 stars, not that it is a great piece of literature, but I did really like this book a lot. Yeah, it's old Ben Bova but I knocked out the book in a day - a combination of being a light, fun read and that it was a page-turner as well. It isn't the easiest title to find nowadays but I recommend it if you run across one in a used book store.
Apr 30, 2010 Carl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
"A top expert must unravel how someone managed to kill people inside his 100% safe virtual reality machines."

Good story, representative of the old fashioned space opera popular in the 60s: strong protagonist, fate of planets hanging on the outcome, galactic culture with strong benevolent military force.

Scott Harris
Aug 21, 2013 Scott Harris rated it liked it
In reading this book from a 21st century perspective, one is reminded of the now common theme of virtual battles between characters, and the many ways that this can unfold. Bova is a good writer with a strong sense of pacing and uses cliff hangers appropriately to compel reading.
May 25, 2007 Ferret rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
I love the bad scifi. And this is awful scifi. Weird archetypes put together in bizarre ways, with a story that just barely makes sense. Lots of fun. Some nice VR set pieces, but I wish there were more of them. They're pretty much the only successful parts of the novel.
Jun 13, 2011 Paul rated it it was ok
This is the first science-fiction novel I remember reading, way back before I was a teenager. I'm sure I enjoyed it ay the time but the book really hasn't aged well at all.
May 17, 2013 Cherie rated it really liked it
Even though this was written a long time ago it doesn't seem dated. It is a fun novella. No swearing or sex.
Eric Orchard
Jan 19, 2012 Eric Orchard rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Filled with wonderful, quirky old science fiction ideas. Very different from Bova's later work.
Jan 03, 2015 Clio rated it it was amazing
Lighthearted used-bookstore awesomeness. I like this just as much as oldschool Asimov.
Jun 16, 2009 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Another really good one from Bova. I remember it well.
Jan 17, 2013 Joshua rated it liked it
An entertaining story. This book is basic and short.
Charles Bowen
Oct 13, 2010 Charles Bowen rated it it was ok
Chucklehead saves the day.
Dec 22, 2007 colleen rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 1984
read 07.09.84
Thomas L Edwards
Thomas L Edwards rated it it was amazing
Sep 20, 2016
Danita L Twedt
Danita L Twedt rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2016
Drew Vankrevelen
Drew Vankrevelen rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2016
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Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1953, while attending Temple University, he married Rosa Cucinotta, they had a son and a daughter. He would later divorce Rosa in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.

Bova is an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. He is an environmentalist, but rejects Luddism.

Bova was a technical writer fo
More about Ben Bova...

Other Books in the Series

The Others (3 books)
  • The Star Conquerors (The Others, #1)
  • Star Watchman

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