The Dueling Machine Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Dueling Machine

Planets both within the Terran Commonwealth and under Star Watch control, and outside it, have made use of dueling machines for many years to settle tensions and private arguments peacefully. Men in disagreements can have their brains hooked in and conduct a virtual duel with the weapons and in the environments of their choosing -- with no ultimate harm to anyone. Suddenly Odal, a warrior from the Kerak empire, somehow manages to send the Acquatainian prime minister into an irreversible coma in the dueling machine. Odal actually kills others in the machine, and the inventor Albertus Leoh can't figure out what's wrong. Leoh and his young Star Watch liaison, Jr. Lt. Hector, will eventually face Odal in the dueling machine, while Kerak obviously gears up to attack Acquataine and then even the Terran Commonwealth. How can they be stopped? This 1969 novel grew out of a 1963 Bova short story, and though the romantic subplot is leaden and cliched, the main thriller plot holds up all right.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Dueling Machine

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Robots, Computers, VR    -   Yes Robot, PC, VR Plotlets:    -   virtual reality Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   bodyguard Age:    -   20's-30's


A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   humans in a futuristic society    -   empty, or nearly empty world    -   big overbuilt futuristic city    -   very controlled society Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a fair amount of scientific explanation How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Ben Bova Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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