I read this story back in the 1950's or 1960's in an old science fiction magazine. I can't remember its title. You read what the main character is thinking as he begins another normal day in his life. He hears the morning lottery announcement that the person selected in the daily lottery is in North America.

A later announcement is that the selected person is in "I think" New York. The character is shopping and doing other things. The next announcement is that the selected person is in New York City. A bit later the announcement is that the selected person is a Man. The lottery announcements continue on until the selected person is narrowed down to either our main character of the man standing next to him.

Announcement reminds citizen of the severe penalty for plunging their Official Lottery Knife into the wrong person. The story ends when the other mans name is announced and he is killed instead of the Main Character. An interesting insight as to a possible direction our society might take.

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    Clearly inspired by "Seventh Victim", which has the same overall plot structure, albeit with differences in terms of the setup. Jan 26, 2023 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


The short story is "It could be you" (1964) by Australian author Frank Roberts

There's very little online about it, all I personally could find is from this link here:-


As early as 1964 The Australian short story writer Frank Roberts wrote a scathing critique of reality TV long before the recent onslaught of this type of television.

The story was called "It Could Be You." The title is taken from a real popular television game show from the 1950s and 60s where a members of the audience were selected perform stunts to win a prize of their dreams.

In the short story "It Could Be You" is an all day game show with roving cameras. A member of the public is selected and clues are given throughout the day by the jovial TV host to narrow down the characteristics of the individual selected. The winner of the game is the person who kills the person selected. The winner gets £100,000.

It is a society which has channelled aggression into this television game show. Everyone carries an ICBY (It Could Be You) knife. The game is narrowed down to two young men in the menswear area of department store in the central city.

As the clues narrow the possibilities people begin moving in for the kill, but they cannot move until the host names the person. The young man who survived finally exclaims, "Christ, what have they done to us?" His girlfriend replies, "There’s no need to be blasphemous."

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    "There’s no need to be blasphemous." - I always find it fascinating to see which social values the authors of yesteryear thought we would still hold onto today.
    – Kevin
    Feb 10, 2019 at 9:22
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    And you can read the story here ( pretty sure the copyright expired, if I'm wrong mods, please erase it) bookre.org/reader?file=279713&pg=1
    – TheAsh
    Feb 12, 2019 at 22:43
  • Read more about the story here battersblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/…
    – TheAsh
    Feb 12, 2019 at 22:44
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    @Danny3414 pastebin.com/qevPV1Ws
    – TheAsh
    Feb 13, 2019 at 12:37
  • Cheers, that's refreshed my memory over a lot of decades
    – Danny Mc G
    Feb 13, 2019 at 12:40

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