Second Game, by Charles V de Vet and Katherine MacLean

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I woke up the other morning realising that I had read - many years ago, in a hardback version from Godalming library where I spent a good deal of my childhood - a short story called Second Game which had some similarities with Player of Games.

The Goodreads link is http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6551084-second-game

It has an odd history, appearing first in Astounding in 1958, then expanding into a novella published in 1981,then into a novel,and sometimes called Cosmic Checkmate. None if which I knew until some Google searching brought me to this blog... http://rrhorton.blogspot.com/2018/10/ace-double-reviews-14-cosmic-checkmate.html?m=1

Anyway, the story revolves around a game which is never fully described in the story, but which is highly reminiscent of chess. Humanities "Ten Thousand Worlds" have been brought to a halt by a single world in which this game governs all of society including rank in government. The human protagonist goes in to find out what's what, by posing as a master of the game, under the banner "I'll beat you the second game"... he uses the first to analyse his opponent's strategy.

I have no idea if Iain Banks ever read this story, or whether the similarities are coincidence, but it was pleasing to track it down and satisfy my nagging curiosity!

Comments

  • 1

    huh! Interesting! Very close conceptually!

  • 0

    I'd have to say that, based on my very distant memory of Second Game, that Player of Games is the much more developed and intricate book!

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