Sunday, January 11, 2009

"In the Arena" by Brian W. Aldiss

Recently, I found a copy of Frederick Pohl's The Second IF Reader of Science Fiction. I have read many good stories that Pohl published in Worlds of IF so I was looking forward to this collection.

Javlin is a fighter in the arena. The only ways out of the arena are to win 12 bouts or die. Javlin has won his last 11 bouts when he gets the bad news. He has to fight as part of a team. And his teammate is a woman. The story focuses on the pair getting to know each other. It ends with them charging into the arena.

Brian Aldiss has written many classic science fiction stories. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. I was surprised to see this in a collection of the best from Worlds of IF. The only reason it I believe it was selected was the author's reputation. Personally, I would rather read a good story by an unknown author than a weak story by a big name writer.

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