What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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UNSOLVED: One specific book > Science Fiction- Many Alien types- Spectator game

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message 1: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments There's a science fiction book that I remember enjoying a great deal, but I can't remember much about it.

There's a human that ends up participating in some sort of huge spectator sport with challenges. I think he may have replaced someone at the last minute. He wasn't a first choice and wasn't expected to do well.

There were many types of aliens on the different teams and watching.

I'm pretty sure the challenges took place in teams.
-Male Main character- I think he was a teen
-May have been targeting the YA audience, I'm not sure.
-I'm not sure when I read it, Maybe in the 90's?
-I don't remember anything about the physical book


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (misterfive) | 202 comments Kind of a long shot, but what about Split Infinity by Piers Anthony?


message 3: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments Not that, I know that one well, but thanks for the suggestion. I can see why you'd give it a try.


MB (What she read) | 136 comments John Scalzi has a short story similar to this. Main character is an adult however.


message 5: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments I'm pretty sure it wasn't a short story, but I'll try to find a copy and see anyway.


message 6: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (fantasynerd365) | 98 comments It's a bit new but is it possibly this? The Quillan Games


message 7: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments Thanks for the try, but that's not it.


message 8: by Daphne (new)

Daphne | 245 comments The Player of Games has a little bit of similarity?


message 9: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments That's not it, but I think the games part is similar. Thanks for the suggestion.


message 10: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (hydrolagus) | 94 comments Interstellar Pig, by any chance?


message 11: by Kris (new)

Kris | 35176 comments Mod
The Quillan Games by D.J. MacHale?

Shanna, can you describe the challenges?
How many players competed at the same time (e.g., one-on-one)?


message 12: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments It's not Interstellar Pig or Quillan games. Thanks for the suggestions.

The players were on a team. I don't remember how big the team was, but it was more than 2. They were mixed species. I think some of the challenges were team and some individual. I think some were mental and some physical challenges, but I just can't remember specifically what they were.

These challenges were not a negative thing. More like the Olympics than the Hunger Games.

I remember that humans were looked down on by most of the alien species


message 13: by Peter (new)

Peter Meilinger | 474 comments I vaguely recall reading a book back in the 80's that I thought was called The Olympiad. If that was the correct title then neither Goodreads nor Amazon has it, because none of the books by that title are the one I recall.

I barely recall any of the plot, but it was basically a galactic Olympics, with each race fielding its own team. Something was going on behind the scenes, so humanity threw in at least one ringer. The main character's name was Kennedy, and he was a secret agent. The only competition I remember was a marathon, and I believe Kennedy was attacked somewhere along the route but won the fight and finished the race.


message 14: by Kris (new)

Kris | 35176 comments Mod
A long shot perhaps - The White Mountains by John Christopher?

One Goodreads reviewer says, "...there's a moment near the beginning that's really stayed with me. It's one of those stories where Earth has been enslaved by alien overlords. There are, however, a few bright points in their miserable existences, and one of these is the annual games, where young athletes compete in a kind of Olympics to pick out the fastest and strongest."

Shanna, where does the story take place - on Earth?
Do humans exist peacefully with the other aliens, are they at war, or are they enslaved?


message 15: by Shanna_redwind (last edited Feb 08, 2015 08:03PM) (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments I don't think It's The White Mountains, Kris and I don't remember the title actually involving Olympics, Peter, but thanks for trying. I think the teams had mixed alien races.

The book didn't take place on earth. I'm thinking some sort of space station, but it could have been an alien planet, or there could have been different venues.

I'm pretty sure that humans weren't enslaved, but were considered the newcomers to space, and kind of thought of as not very capable or bright by most of the other races, I think because we don't specialize very much.

I keep flashing to a tentacled being when I think of this book, but I can't remember a specific scene, and so I'm not sure if it belongs with this book or not.


message 16: by Amanda (last edited Feb 08, 2015 09:11PM) (new)

Amanda (misterfive) | 202 comments Hm. Your comment about humans are relative newcomers, and looked down on, made me think of The Uplift War by David Brin. Pre-uplifted species have to go through a series of challenges to prove they are ready to be uplifted to full sentience, and that set of challenges features prominently in end the book. The challenges are overseen by a variety of alien races. But no humans would have participated in them, and most of the book was about one set of aliens trying to take over the planet it all happens on, so it's a long shot.


message 17: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments It's not The Uplift War, but thanks for the try.


message 18: by Kris (new)

Kris | 35176 comments Mod
Any chance the protagonist is a female? For example: Achilles' Choice by Larry Niven?


message 19: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments I'm not totally positive, but I'm pretty sure the character was male. It's not Achilles Choice, but thanks for trying.

I didn't mean to throw people off track with the Olympics. I don't think there was a mention of Olympics, I was just trying to describe how I remembered the feel of the games. Positive and (possibly brutally) competitive, but not forced upon enslaved people.


message 20: by Kris (last edited Feb 09, 2015 02:04PM) (new)

Kris | 35176 comments Mod
Although you said your book probably didn't refer to "Olympics" and it probably isn't a short story, I'll mention this anthology just in case - Science Fictional Olympics: Isaac Asimov's Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction, Vol. 2. It might give other seachers some ideas.

- Introduction: Competition! (1984) essay by Isaac Asimov
- Run to Starlight (1974) novelette by George R. R. Martin
- The Mickey Mouse Olympics (1979) short story by Tom Sullivan
- Dream Fighter (1977) short story by Bob Shaw
- The Kokod Warriors [Magnus Ridolph] (1952) novelette by Jack Vance
- Getting Through University [Dr. Dillingham] (1968) novelette by Piers Anthony
- For the Sake of Grace [Coyote Jones] (1969) novelette by Suzette Haden Elgin
- The National Pastime (1973) novelette by Norman Spinrad
- A Day for Dying (1969) short story by Charles Nuetzel
- The People Trap (1968) short story by Robert Sheckley
- Why Johnny Can't Speed (1971) short story by Alan Dean Foster
- Nothing in the Rules (1939) novelette by L. Sprague de Camp
- The Olympians (1982) short story by Mike Resnick
- The Wind from the Sun (1964) novelette by Arthur C. Clarke
- Prose Bowl (1979) novelette by Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg
- From Downtown at the Buzzer (1977) novelette by George Alec Effinger
- A Glint of Gold (1980) short story by Simon Hawke [as by Nicholas V. Yermakov]
- The Survivor (1965) novelette by Walter F. Moudy


message 21: by Will (new)

Will | 3 comments Could it be galax-arena


message 22: by Shanna_redwind (last edited Feb 09, 2015 06:44PM) (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments Thanks for the effort Kris, but I'm still pretty sure it's not a short story. I didn't really read short stories and I do remember this being longer.

It's not Galax-Arena, but thanks for the try. I already had it on my to-read list, so it's definitely in the realm of what I like to read..


message 23: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments bump


message 24: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments bump


message 25: by Qc (last edited Oct 28, 2015 01:04AM) (new)

Qc | 12 comments Shanna_redwind wrote: "There's a science fiction book that I remember enjoying a great deal, but I can't remember much about it.

There's a human that ends up participating in some sort of huge spectator sport with chall..."


What about Contest by Matthew Reilly? Don't just read the blurb, maybe check out a wiki plot description as the bulk of it is the competing/surviving theme and the blurb mostly outlines the set up which I reckon would be forgettable a few years on


message 26: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments Qc, That looks like a great book, but unfortunatly it's not the one I'm looking for. I checked out the wiki as well, and I think this is a much darker book than mine. I'm finding that looking for a book causes my to read list to mysteriously expand.

I don't remember there being an atmosphere of fear of certain death (Though I think some of the games may have been dangerous enough to cause death, just not designed to ensure it)


message 27: by 0possum (new)

0possum | 71 comments Here’s a long shot: Chess with a Dragon David Gerrold.

Takes place off earth
other aliens think we're stupid
sort of team play -I'm a bit fuzzy on this
we can't pay our newcomer debt to galactic union so we have to play/compete or something
I haven't read it for a long while but I get flashes of a tentacled being too -maybe the entity that is preparing the earthman for the game or maybe the final test


message 28: by Qc (new)

Qc | 12 comments Shanna_redwind wrote: "Qc, That looks like a great book, but unfortunatly it's not the one I'm looking for. I checked out the wiki as well, and I think this is a much darker book than mine. I'm finding that looking for a..."

Ah well - bummer it wasn't the one you're after, good luck finding it (and with working your way through that expanding list!)


message 29: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments Anncc, I don't think that's it. I'll have to find a copy to be positive, but I'm pretty sure I've seen that book (or have it in my bookshelf) and it's a separate book.

Thanks for the try though.


message 30: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments bump


message 31: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments Opossum, sorry i didn't reply to your comment before. Not sure how I missed it (more than once). It's not Chess with a Dragon, but thanks for trying. I haven't read that book, but I have a copy of it.


message 32: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments bump


message 33: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments bump


message 34: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 858 comments bump


message 35: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 39315 comments Mod
Shanna_redwind, are you still looking for this or did you find it?


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