Wednesday, September 28, 2016

For The Sake Of The Game, by Gray Rinehart

(Sports SF) Pawl Maricelli, a referee in the althletic contest meant to strengthen the fragile peace between humans and Errellians, is threatened by those who don't want peace. (6,400 words; Time: 21m)

Rating: ★★★★☆, Recommended

"For The Sake Of The Game," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in Galactic Games (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Pawl is brave and stubborn, and we salute his determination to referee the games, particularly after he sees how marracalva really does bring the two races together. His Errellian counterparts are not all nice, like Ahk-sulla; they can be just as stubborn and unreasonable as any human beings, so it's rewarding when he earns their grudging respect at the end.

Just as the game itself is a contest that involves a good bit more than brute force, the solution to the problem of people trying to kill the referees also requires more than brute force, and it is cooperation that wins the day.

A plus is that the Errellians aren't described as superior or inferior to human beings. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

Con: Hard to imagine that a sporting event would carry that much weight. Hard to imagine they couldn't keep firearms out of the stands--or that an automated system would kill everyone in a box before police even had a chance to capture suspects.

The bit about asking the teams to make their own calls looks like an editing failure, since nothing ever comes of it in the story.

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