A book I read in the school library in the early 1980s. Colour sci-fi picture book with full page pictures (i.e., not just illustrations) and several short stories. I think there was a massive spaceship on the front cover. The book was a similar size and format to The Electric State by Simon Stalenhag.

One short story had two male citizens of an advanced society chosen - at random? - for a compulsory duel to the death. Might have been a similar idea to the Hunger Games i.e., as entertainment / to alleviate boredom. One of the duellists eschewed modern weaponry and opted for traditional hunting gear and woodcraft. He locates the empty camp of his opponent with the fire still ablaze. The opponent has been hiding and promptly cuts the traditionalist in half with some sort of laser weapon

  • Thanks indeed @FuzzyBoots, really looking forward to re-reading it
    – Herbie W
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


This is "The Nimrodian Club" by Stewart Cowley and Charles Herridge as per 70s/80s short story (& compilation) where crossbow-wielding smartypants is killed by a laser. I believe it was only ever published in the anthology titled Great Space Battles, which indeed had some beautiful artwork. This WIkia entry has more information:

The Nimrodian Club was an organization founded in 2314 by Robin Maxwell, an incredibly rich man who was bored with life. Other founding members included Carl Hinton and Tristram Keeler-Finch. The rules of the club were that each year a computer would randomly select two members of the club. One week later, they would face off in a duel in a secluded woody area, and be charged with hunting the other down. The victor would be the one who killed the other; if one ran away, then the entire club would be charged with hunting down and killing him. The only exception would be for members who were gravely wounded.

The first lot was drawn on June 22nd, 2314, placing Hinton against Maxwell one week later. Hinton won, cutting Maxwell in half with a laser.

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