The dueling machine, the perfect pacifier for all man’s tensions. You could enter a world of your own creation, destroy your enemy or be destroyed by him, and emerge from your mental fantasy world completely unharmed.
Dr. Leoh, creator of this ultimate placebo, could not believe that someone had now found a way to use his machine as a tool for destruction. But apparently someone had. And now this someone, Dictator Kanus of Kerak, was using the dueling machine to conquer the Acquataine Cluster.
Leoh realized it was up to him to stop Kanus before the man began a war of conquest against the Terran Commonwealth and Star Watch. But how, equipped only with an eccentric and bumbling Star Watch Lieutenant and the dueling machine itself, was he to accomplish this? And even if Leoh could discover how the dueling machine was being turned into a death machine, could he stop Kanus and his cohorts before civilization ended in an intergalactic war?
When the first expedition from Earth arrived on Mars they were not greeted with open arms. Not only had the Martians long ago learned all they wanted about Earth—they wanted nothing to do with us. to quote their welcoming committee:
“You Earth people don’t know your own history. You have always been incorrigible. When Mars was younger, we drove you back to your own planet, whereupon you tumbled into savagery for a gratifyingly long time. The really intelligent Martians then emigrated to the ends of the universe to avoid a second encounter.
“In fact we are not interested in playing cowboys and Indians with your people.”
But Earthmen are incorrigible, and Martians are obstinate, and the result is an adventure-packed novel that spans two planets and several stars and is great science-fiction all the way.