I'm trying to remember the name of a story I read some 20 years ago.

In the story a powerful alien civilisation is confronted by a strange enemy: a 2-dimensional rectangular shape that destroys their ships. The "shape" is actually a projection of a computer screen, and the "enemy" is a human that plays a computer game. The aliens figure out how to deal with the situation and capture the human, who is then judged for the many deaths he had inadvertently caused. While he is waiting for the judgement in a small capsule in space, his friend on Earth logs into the game, sees the capsule, and destroys it.

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    @Valorum I thought so too but it seems an odd fit. IIRC, they don't judge Johnny, they surrender to him and expect him to fix the situation. Still, you could post it as an answer.
    – DavidW
    Mar 20, 2019 at 13:53
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    Could it be Ender's Game?
    – Ryan_L
    Mar 20, 2019 at 13:59
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    Definitely not "Ender's Game" (read it recently) and not "Only You Can Save Mankind".
    – Oleg
    Mar 20, 2019 at 14:10
  • @Oleg I too initially thought "Ender's Game" except that very last piece.
    – Jeremy
    Mar 22, 2019 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


It's called "Game Over" ("Конец Игры" in Russian) by Oleg Kulagin. It was published in the science fiction section of Tekhnika Molodezhi in June 1995.

I finally remembered that I had read it in my grandfather's magazine, but was not sure which one. Tekhnika Molodezhi was the best bet, but I had to go through a number of issues I found online before I could find the one I was looking for.

  • By the way, the computer in the story is Iskra-1030. That means that 4.77 MHz and 640 KB RAM are enough to open a portal to a galaxy far far away.
    – Oleg
    Mar 24, 2019 at 21:59

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