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Thirty odd years ago, I was in the U.K. at the time, I had a slim collection of short SF stories which I'm trying to identify. The cover I dimly remember as an abstract image, like a close up of a Pollock or perhaps a lava lamp. It was not a new book then.

It included a story about a long time 20th century junkie whose search for an elusive 'ultimate high' brings him to a mysterious drug pusher. The pusher is revealed to be an alien talent scout for a gladiator school on a different planet. The junkie enlists and fights in the games, the other combatants (mostly non-human) are collected down-and-outs too and also alien to the planet.

There is perhaps a rebellion (?) and a downer of a return to earth.

Any ideas on the title of the short story or the collection?

  • I don't remember if all the stories were by the same author. I seem to remember a story which had a crossed wire on a news service teletype machine allowing it to intercept alien news reports. However I may be remembering this from another source, I read a great deal of science fiction back then, a lot of it from the early years. – Brynn Jun 13 '14 at 18:26
  • Further research eliminates The Night Wire by Henry Ferris Arnold as the second story. The one I remember has a teletype machine, no fog and the news is coming from off world - Mars? It also felt more like 40's or 50's rather than the 20's. – Brynn Jun 15 '14 at 12:33
  • I've been trying to remember and the addict has a conversation with the pusher during which peyote and yage are mentioned as being trifling. The addict is dismissive of the new drug (yaru, yuru?) as it is not injected and he has been 'mainlining' for years. As for the second story, I think one of the received teletype reports may have been about an explosion at an arms manufactory, followed by a censors interdiction not to release the story. The war I think, was to be an invasion of Earth from Mars? Cheers Brynn – Brynn Jun 28 '14 at 12:32
  • The collection is Time out for Tomorrow by Richard Wilson. The copy I read was the 1962 Ballantine edition. The story about the junkie gladiator is The Big Fix (1956), the teletype story is QRM (1957). Phew! – Brynn Dec 8 '14 at 1:03
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The collection is Time out for Tomorrow by Richard Wilson.

The copy I read was the 1962 Ballantine edition.

The story about the junkie gladiator is The Big Fix (1956), the teletype story is QRM (1957).

 

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