(Found) Protagonist faces capital punishment on alien planet but delays execution by playing an endless game

Elckerlyc

"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings."
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And that's nearly all I remember.
But, if I remember correctly, the protagonist was granted a last wish - and execution would be delayed - until this wish was fulfilled. He choose to play a game of chess (I think), which was unfamiliar to the aliens, and changed the rules so it could be prolonged without ever coming to an end.
Months passed. Just as the aliens became aware of the nature of this endless game he was rescued by a Terran spaceship that came looking for him.

I read the book (or story) in the early 70's. It was in Dutch, but very likely a translation and originally in English. The book came from a library and it probably dated back to the 60's.
Author, title, cover? Must have been stored in the brain-cells that are no longer active.
 

Lisa_Who

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OH, I know this one! It was in an ancient yellowing paperback of my dad's, I LOVED that story! It wasn't chess though (unless I'm remembering a different story than the one you mean), it was, well, the protag called it "Arky-Malarky," lol. It was actually a religious "game" and the "players" (on Earth) had been playing it for centuries (possibly, millenia?) and they believed that when the last disc piece of the game was moved, the universe would end. I can't remember the name of the anthology (which had SO many other awesome wonderful stories too!) but this particular short story was "Now Inhale" by Eric Frank Russell.
 

Elckerlyc

"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings."
Joined
Aug 27, 2019
Messages
2,040
Location
The Netherlands
OH, I know this one! It was in an ancient yellowing paperback of my dad's, I LOVED that story! It wasn't chess though (unless I'm remembering a different story than the one you mean), it was, well, the protag called it "Arky-Malarky," lol. It was actually a religious "game" and the "players" (on Earth) had been playing it for centuries (possibly, millenia?) and they believed that when the last disc piece of the game was moved, the universe would end. I can't remember the name of the anthology (which had SO many other awesome wonderful stories too!) but this particular short story was "Now Inhale" by Eric Frank Russell.

Thank you! That must be the story I was looking for! And Eric Frank Russell, being one of my old-time favorites, as the author makes sense also.
It's not really surprising I remembered something wrong after 50 years. I don't think I knew this 'Towers of Hanoi' game at the the time I read the story, so my simple brain replaced it with something it knew. But now I know, I think playing this game for months would drive me crazy! Which makes sense to the story obviously.
I just searched Amazon and used-books shops but unfortunately can only find copies that are part of an issue of Astounding SF 1959, of which a 3-issue bundle is the cheapest available for $33.
At least now I know what story it is.
Thanks again, nice entree and welcome to the chrons!

EDIT: thread can be marked 'Found'!
 

Lisa_Who

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I just searched Amazon and used-books shops but unfortunately can only find copies that are part of an issue of Astounding SF 1959, of which a 3-issue bundle is the cheapest available for $33.
At least now I know what story it is.
Thanks again, nice entree and welcome to the chrons!

Thank you! :) And after some fast Googling and a personal memory bank search, I remember the name of the anthology. TV: 2000 .
 

Elckerlyc

"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings."
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Now that I knew the title, I did a search in the Speculative Fiction Database. Which contains all known publications across the globe:

The Internet Speculative Database - ISFDB

And guess what? 6th in the list was an SF Anthology, in Dutch, published in 1972. This edition has been on my bookshelves since approx. 1972, pushed to the back and since (almost) totally forgotten by me! A gold nugget from the past!

And for your information, TV: 2000 was published in 1982 and 1983. :)
 

Lisa_Who

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Jan 6, 2020
Messages
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Now that I knew the title, I did a search in the Speculative Fiction Database. Which contains all known publications across the globe:

The Internet Speculative Database - ISFDB

And guess what? 6th in the list was an SF Anthology, in Dutch, published in 1972. This edition has been on my bookshelves since approx. 1972, pushed to the back and since (almost) totally forgotten by me! A gold nugget from the past!

And for your information, TV: 2000 was published in 1982 and 1983. :)

I found my copy (well, my dad's copy, but he would have wanted me to have it, I'm positive!) this weekend! it's in awful shape...but I still have it! Reread it and, yep. Still awesome.
 

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