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The Game of Rat and Dragon   By: (1913-1966)

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The Game of Rat and Dragon, written by Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, is a captivating science fiction novella that takes readers on a thrilling journey through the vastness of space. Set in a future where humanity relies on telepaths to fend off dangerous "dragons" that lurk within the void, this book offers a unique take on the age-old battle between good and evil.

Linebarger's mastery of storytelling shines through in this work, as he adeptly weaves together elements of mystery, action, and romance. The characters are well-developed, each possessing their own strengths and vulnerabilities that make them relatable and compelling. From the enigmatic telepathic agents tasked with protecting the world to the formidable and seemingly invincible dragons, the cast of characters is diverse and engaging.

One of the book's greatest strengths lies in its expertly crafted world-building. Linebarger effortlessly immerses readers in a future where spaceships and telepathic abilities are integrated seamlessly into everyday life. The descriptions of interstellar battles are vivid and thrilling, painting a picture of a universe brimming with fantastical technology and cosmic dangers.

The pacing of the story is relentless, with each page turn delivering another twist or revelation that leaves readers on edge. Whether it's an intense battle against a formidable dragon or a tender moment between characters grappling with their own internal demons, Linebarger never lets the narrative slacken. The result is a book that keeps readers enthralled from beginning to end.

One of the novella's standout features is the exploration of deeper themes and philosophical questions. Linebarger skillfully delves into the ethics of using telepaths as weapons, raising thought-provoking questions about the boundaries of power and the delicate balance between humanity and technology. These contemplative moments elevate the story beyond a mere action-packed adventure, giving readers plenty to ponder long after turning the final page.

If there is one minor flaw, it would be that the brevity of the novella leaves readers longing for more. The world and characters are so richly developed that a longer exploration would have been welcomed. Nonetheless, Linebarger's ability to create such a captivating tale in a limited space is a testament to his skill as a writer.

Overall, The Game of Rat and Dragon is a stellar example of science fiction at its finest. Linebarger's masterful storytelling, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes make for an exhilarating read. Whether you are a fan of the genre or new to science fiction, this novella is sure to leave a lasting impression. Prepare to be transported to a dazzling future where the fate of humanity rests on a precarious game between telepaths and dragons.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1955. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

The Game of

Rat and Dragon


Only partners could fight this deadliest of wars and the one way to dissolve the partnership was to be personally dissolved!

Illustrated by HUNTER



Pinlighting is a hell of a way to earn a living. Underhill was furious as he closed the door behind himself. It didn't make much sense to wear a uniform and look like a soldier if people didn't appreciate what you did.

He sat down in his chair, laid his head back in the headrest and pulled the helmet down over his forehead.

As he waited for the pin set to warm up, he remembered the girl in the outer corridor. She had looked at it, then looked at him scornfully.

"Meow." That was all she had said. Yet it had cut him like a knife.

What did she think he was a fool, a loafer, a uniformed nonentity? Didn't she know that for every half hour of pinlighting, he got a minimum of two months' recuperation in the hospital?

By now the set was warm... Continue reading book >>

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