By William Brittain (?-?).
First appearance: Planet Stories, Summer 1948.
Short short story (9 pages).
Online at SFFaudio HERE (PDF).
Parental caution: Strong language.
"They played a ghastly game on that lonely asteroid. Killer and victim-to-be danced and feinted between space-beacon and ship. Only the stars knew the winner."Even when they live decades in the future and a billion miles from home, people are alike all over:
. . . There was no question of disposing of the body—not in space. In the boiling heat of the Venusian jungles, perhaps, it would have been easy; there the bodies of earthlings rotted and were gone. But out here in the frigid void between Mars and Jupiter, the dead remain unchanged through eternity. . . .Comments: Think of this one as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre set in the Asteroid Belt; the Bogart film could have been the inspiration since it was released just a few months earlier. Also, our author makes the same scientific mistake Stanley Kubrick made in 2001: A Space Odyssey (here's a clue: It keeps you down). As for the title, it may have been suggested by an ancient children's game (see HERE).
- ISFDb HERE.
- Note: This author, William J. Brittain, is not to be confused with the William E. (Bill) Brittain who wrote all of those great stories for EQMM and AHMM in the '60s, '70s, and '80s (see HERE).
The bottom line: "Sure. You're old, I'm young. I need dough and plenty of it!"
— Fred C. Dobbs
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