What I remember is the human and alien represent their respective species, unarmed, naked, and are separated by a force field. They cannot pass through this field but must kill one or the other to determine the winner of this galactic battle. The alien is round with protruding tentacles that end in pinchers. It grabs a lizard and plucks off a leg. The lizard is dead, and the alien tosses it toward the force field. The lizard passes through and lands on the ground next to the human. A moment later the human sees the lizard come back to life and scurries away...have to be unconscious to pass through the field. The human grabs a rock and runs toward the shield and hits himself in the head with the rock. He passes out but his forward momentum helps his unconscious body fall through the field and onto the alien's side. The human regains consciousness, kills the alien and the humans win the galactic battle.

  • 1
    This one's famous. Tip of my tongue... Jan 26 at 22:58
  • 6
    Arena has been asked about before many, many times :-) Jan 27 at 6:01
  • If @robert were to accept the answer we could mark this as a proper duplicate. Jan 29 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


Arena, by Frederic Brown, first published in the June 1944 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine.

A Star Trek episode, also called Arena, had similarities. In order to avoid legal problems, it was agreed that Brown would receive payment and a story credit.


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