I read a science fiction short story where a human being and an alien battle it out among themselves in an area equally disadvantageous to both of them where they have been placed by member of a third race - an omnipotent being to the other two. This being conveyed that whoever wins shall win the galaxy as the omnipotent being would destroy the other race. The human being wins and the battle is also won. The fiction was probably written before fifties or latest sixties. Any idea about the name of the story?


I believe that is 'Arena' by Fredric Brown.

It's from 1944, and has our hero piloting a space fighter, when he suddenly wakes up in a desert arena, with a force field separating him from an 'Outsider'; a mostly round creature with tentacles.

After eventually winning (using his mind to logic out a puzzle about the situation, as the being that put them there had warned that 'Accident of Physical Strength' would not determine the outcome), our hero finds himself back in his ship, and, upon returning home, is told that when the first shots were fired, they seemed to jump from ship to ship, destroying the entire enemy fleet.

  • I'm not sure of the legitimacy of the links, so I'm not including them here, but a quick google search found multiple on-line copies, if you want to read one to verify. – K-H-W Mar 16 '15 at 14:21
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    At first I thought "that sounds familiar..." but it was actually credited in the incredibly similar Star Trek TOS episode. en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Arena_(episode) – zeldredge Mar 16 '15 at 14:26
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    @SirElderberry, also similar to the original "Secret Wars" story line by Marvel. Although in Secret Wars we have heroes battle villains on a planet created by Beyonder (an omnipotent being). – coderworks Mar 16 '15 at 15:29
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    The full text of Arena by Frederic Brown. – Lexible Mar 16 '15 at 16:22
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    @Lexible - Yeah; I saw that one, but wasn't sure of it's legality, so didn't include a link to it. – K-H-W Mar 16 '15 at 16:25

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