If someone pisses you off enough, you can dial their ID code on your telephone to vote to kill them. If a person get enough votes, they are executed.

Or are they? The system actually catches (and punishes? kills?) people that cast more than a certain number of such votes.

  • 1
    Damn. Don't know if I've read that one. It's not "A Ticket to Tranai" or "Polity and Custom of the Camiroi" but it vaguely reminds me of those. Do you remember anything else about the story? Plot, characters? Is it set on another planet? About how old is it?
    – user14111
    Nov 22, 2014 at 9:49
  • Oh, I'd be phoning up about a bunch of people.
    – Valorum
    Nov 22, 2014 at 9:51
  • It sounds a little like Richard Matheson's Button, Button.
    – Joe L.
    Nov 22, 2014 at 16:11
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2_B_R_0_2_B has a similarish theme, but people there kill themselves, not others.
    – user1197
    Nov 22, 2014 at 17:35
  • I'm familiar with both Button, Button and 2BR02B, and it's not either of those. Richard, you wouldn't if you knew the actual result (in spoiler), but then, the point was that most people didn't. user14111, the plot involves a public figure/celebrity (maybe a televangelist) trying to get all his followers to vote to have a specific person killed, and IIRC that person doesn't get killed, and thereby finds out how the system actually works.
    – Eric Smith
    Nov 23, 2014 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


I'm pretty sure the story is "Zap Thy Neighbour", by James P. Hogan. Available in "Rockets, Redheads, and Revolution", a collection of Hogan's writings, and in the anthology "How To Save The World", edited by Charles Sheffield (the anthology I remember reading).

  • 1
    Do you have a plot summary or some quotes from the book to indicate why you think this is the story? Apr 21, 2015 at 20:41
  • From a review of "How to Save the World" on amazon.com: --- "Zap Thy Neighbor" by James P. Hogan. I'd read this one almost a decade ago in an anthology of Hogan's stories and science writing called Rockets, Redheads & Revolution, and enjoyed rereading it. Hogan has envisioned a world in which everyone has a listing in a big directory, and that anyone with a grudge or grievance, if she can find two willing accomplices, can "call your number." It's a simple system with a twist that ensures that it really works as promised---in creating a more civil society. Apr 21, 2015 at 20:46

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