I don't remember much from the story, but what really marked me was that everyone on a planet competed in a competition to become King of the planet, yet the one that won would be killed afterwards. I also remember that murder was legal during the competition, and I think a conscious machine was behind it all.

It was a short story, part of a volume I read when I was a lot younger (would be at least 30 years old).

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    Elements of this sound like "Player of Games" by Iain M. Banks – Valorum Oct 29 '18 at 21:04
  • It reminds of an episode of the Métal Hurlant Chronicles. – Sava Oct 29 '18 at 22:52
  • Just ordered the entire Iain M. Banks' "Culture" series, as the description made me quite curious. I will have to read it before i see if that's the one or not. Even if it is not, i believe it will be a good read. – Ninn Oct 29 '18 at 23:17
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    If not for your belief that it was a short story, I'd be inclined to suggest Fred Saberhagen's novel Berserker's Planet. – Lorendiac Oct 30 '18 at 0:08
  • There is an element of this in Guy Gavriel Kay's novel Tigana. – Spencer Oct 30 '18 at 0:13

That sounds similar to Man's Best Friend by Evelyn Smith published in Galaxy magazine and broadcast on the radio program X-minus One.

An AI in the palace would dictate someone to be the next Overlord; whose first job was to kill the current Overlord and take his place.

You can read the full text online here

  • Just finished reading it, but it's not the one i read years ago :( – Ninn Nov 22 '18 at 11:40

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