Ben Bova is the author of more than a hundred science-fiction books and also served as editor of Legendary Magazines Analog and Omni . In his short story "Bloodless Victory," which appears in his latest collection New Frontiers he represents a future in which dueling is a comeback thanks to sophisticated virtual reality technology.
old concept and was once a way for the gentlemen to settle their differences, "says Bova in Episode 352 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "And with virtual reality, you can lead a duel without danger or injury – except maybe emotionally."
Bova imagines that future duelists who do not stick to practical limits can choose any competition they can imagine.
"You and your opponent need to get together and find a place for the duel," he says. "Want to make guns in 20 steps? Or water-filled balloons at arm's length? Once you have agreed on a venue for the duel, you are conducting the duel in virtual reality. "
In" Bloodless Victory, "VR technology has advanced to touch, taste, and smell your adversary. The virtual world feels compelling enough to satisfy any desire for retribution. This makes VR duels an attractive alternative to long, expensive lawsuits. "I think VR duels would relieve the courts, create emotional satisfaction and make lawyers poorer," says Bova. "All this is to be desired from the bottom of my heart."
Bova once trained in battle with a saber, which means that his preferred weapon is a matter of course as soon as VR duels become reality. "I still have a saber here in my office," he says. "I think it's an excellent weapon for finding justice."
Listen to the full interview with Ben Bova in Episode 352 of Geek's Guide to the Galaxy (above). Some highlights from the following discussion can be found here.
Ben Bova on his story "Mars Farts":
"There are signs of methane [on Mars]. Astronomers have been considering this for several years. Methane appears in the Martian atmosphere, usually in Martian spring, and disappears fairly quickly. And the question is how the methane is produced. Where does it come from? It seems to me that the simplest explanation is that they are the excretions of Martians living below the surface. … When we get there, I'm sure we'll find some ̵
Ben Bova on space exploration:
"I feel like a kid on the Spanish coast in 1491. The Atlantic laps my feet, and it's a barrier. Western Europe was occupied by the losers, expelled from the rich Asian mainland and pushed until they could not be pushed further. They could not navigate the Atlantic, but eventually people learned how to build ships that can cross the ocean and open a new frontier – and not just a new frontier of material wealth, but a new frontier of ideas and ways of life life. And we are at this point now. One hundred miles above the head is the limit of space. And wherever you are, you are only a hundred miles away. This limit offers tremendous profits, enormous natural resources of energy and resources sufficient to make every person on earth rich. The question is, who goes out and claims the stuff? And how is it shared, here on earth? So we live in exciting times. It is the beginning of a new era of exploration and development.
Ben Bova on Gordon R. Dickson:
"Half a dozen of us were in New York. We had dinner in a very nice restaurant, went outside – it rained a bit – and we called a taxi. We all jam into the taxi, and the taxi takes us to the hotel, where most of the boys were staying. And as we get out of the taxi, the taxi driver starts complaining that we did not tip him. And Gordy turns around and talks to the taxi driver. It starts very politely, but the taxi driver snapped, and suddenly I saw Gordy, who reached through the driver's side window, grabbed the guy by the shoulders and pulled him out of the taxi through the window. And Gordy said, "Well, we can do it like masters." And the taxi driver desperately tries to get the car started and drive away. So that was Gordy. Very, very polite, but at some point a trigger came, and he became quite physical.
Ben Bova on his story "The Last Decision":
"It is settled in the future. There is a kingdom on a hundred worlds. The capital of this empire is not here on earth or in the solar system. It's on another planet orbiting another star. The earth is thought of as a kind of rural community, so that people in the bloodlines of the earth are not changed by civilization. And this is the basis for genetic studies throughout the empire. Then they realize that the sun will break out of the earth and there will be a mini-nova – and cleanse the earth of life. And a young woman – a scientist – believes that she can save the sun, and the official scientific community does not believe her and does not want it. It's too different from what they do. And she herself comes to the Emperor and persuades him to let her try. And that is the Emperor's last gift to the Empire.
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