Sunday, July 20, 2014

Clifford D Simak's "Rule 18" (novelette, humor): How earth won it's first football match against Martians in decades

One of the illustrations accompanying the original publication in Astounding magazine of short story Rule 18 by Clifford D Simak. Image shows the victory procession through New York of Martian football team after its latest win against earth.Martians have been beating earth in annual football match for a long time. And the diagnosis is: earth-men have become soft because of too much automation here; they never get a chance to exercise their muscles. But things are about to change as a cool newly invented gadget, the earth team's coach sick of losing too long, & a betting syndicate come together...

Title comes from one of the rules of the game that requires a player of the team to not only be natives of his world, but his 9 preceding generations should have been native of this world too. Coach will twist this rule in a curious way to win.

Update 21 July 2014Marooned has a note on an Isaac Asimov connection to this story.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, July 1938.
Rating: B.
Nominated for Retro Hugo Awards 1939 in novelette category.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Clifford D Simak.