What is the name of the book/story where a boy goes to a planet and is offered the choice of many weapons but chooses a knife.

I read it when I was in secondary school in the seventies.

  • 2
    Can you remember anything useful, character names, why he was given weapons, what he ultimately needed to fight, anything else that he said or did?
    – Valorum
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 20:46
  • Your question made me think of John Locke from Lost. He wasn't offered other weapons, but he did choose a knife among a set of other objects presented to him by Richard Alpert. Commented May 16, 2014 at 13:32
  • This question reminds me of Hunters of the Red Moon, although I know that it isn't the answer. However, in looking it up I just discovered there's a sequel I'll have to go look for.
    – Bobson
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


It's Tunnel In the Sky by Robert A Heinlein. The hero has a conversation with his (much more experienced) sister near the beginning of the book where she advises him to take a knife and not a gun on his advanced survival test (which is on a different planet).

To quote from the linked Wikipedia article:

Rod, acting on his older sister's advice, takes hunting knives and basic survival gear rather than high-tech weaponry, on the grounds that the latter could make him over-confident.

  • 3
    Absolutely. And during the story, many of the people with the high tech weapons did not fare very well overall. I thought this was one of Heinlein's best young adult novels.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 14:27
  • Thank you so much . I'm sure that is the book. Trying to think of it has been troubling me for days. I recognise the writer now. Thank you Kenny and Bobson.
    – deel
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 20:59
  • The Heinlein Juveniles are the best! Commented May 17, 2014 at 5:26

Would also fit "Dune"; compare the fight between Paul Atreides (Kyle McLachlan) and Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Sting) in the 1984 film adaptation of the book series of the same name.

  • 7
    He's not offered the choice of a more advanced weapon. The fight is kris-knife against kris-knife...
    – Valorum
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 0:03
  • 2
    Plus this answer is clearly referring to the movie, which A) is not a book, and B) 1984, the year it was made, is after the seventies, when the OP read the book/story.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 17:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.