Robert Sheckley’s Seventh Victim

SFFaudio Online Audio

Seventh Victim by Robert SheckleyGoing in, and liking Robert Sheckley, I was surprised how much I didn’t respond to his most famous short story Seventh Victim. Upon first reading it I didn’t think of it as terrific story. Nor did I think of it as having much in the way of intellectual heft. But, upon reflection, particularly after watching the film adaptation I am coming around a bit. Indeed, plenty of folks, it seems, think of Seventh Victim as an academic story. It’s been used in both introductory psychology and philosophy textbooks. It has been reprinted more than a dozen times in different anthologies or collections. The 1965 film adaptation, called The Tenth Victim (La Decima Vittima), prompted Sheckley to expand the short story into a novel under the same name (which spawned more novel sequels Victim Prime and Hunter / Victim.

Robert Sheckley’s short story Seventh Victim is the tale of a future earth in which men and women engage in a voluntary game of assassination. Upon its first publication Galaxy magazine’s editor, H.L. Gold, abstrusely compared it to Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game. I see that. But I was more struck by its closer resemblance to the game played in the opening scenes of the 1985 film Gotcha!. That film was likely inspired by a 1982 movie, Tag: The Assassination Game – which itself certainly nodded towards The Most Dangerous Game (the name of the first victim in the film is Connally). And that movie, in turn, was likely inspired by a real game of fake murder played on university campuses at the time (it looks like it is still played today too). While the story itself isn’t available as an audiobook there are a couple of audio dramatizations (both use the same script):

Future TenseFuture Tense – The Seventh Victim
Adapted from a short story by Robert Sheckley; Adapted by Ernest Kinoy; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: WMUK Special Projects
Broadcast: May 20th, 1974
Provider: Rimworlds.com
“The most dangerous game, said one writer, is Man. But there is another still more deadly!” First published in the April 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

X-Minus OneX-Minus One – The Seventh Victim
Adapted from a short story by Robert Sheckley; Adapted by Ernest Kinoy; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: March 6, 1957
Provider: Archive.org
“Tonight we go forward in time to the days when war has been outlawed – and in its place there is a system of carefully controlled legalized murder.” First published in the April 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

Cast:
Lawson Zerbe …. Freeline
Terri Keane …. Janet
Frank Maxwell … Emanuel Gale
Ian Martin ….
Arthur Hughes …. Jerry
Fred Collins …. Announcer

[via Archive.org and Rimworlds]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Similar Posts:

2 thoughts to “Robert Sheckley’s Seventh Victim”

  1. Hey, thanks for digging up the X-minus one episode, I’ve got a collection of these going and despite an immediate reaction to Robert Sheckley’s name in a large portion of the episodes i never found the episode.

    For all those interested in the campus shenanigans, the go-to manual is “Killer” by Steve Jackson games, which acknowledges Mr. Sheckley’s immense influence on the murder-as-game genre that spawned all of these fantastic mind games.

    There are also a rather long list of Indy, No-budget and little known films that revolve around this as the core idea, some deservedly unknown, some actually quite wondrous in their own right, but La Decima Vittima is a must see for any fan of foreign films, sf or not and I’d recommend looking into a copy of it once you’re done with these audio dramas!

  2. Pingback: SF Signal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *