Breaking the Game

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"Breaking the Game"
Author Orson Scott Card
Country United States
Language English
Published in Analog
Publication type Periodical
Publisher Dell Magazines
Media type Print (Magazine)
Publication date 1979


"Breaking the Game" is a short story by American writer Orson Scott Card. It appears in his short story collections Capitol and The Worthing Saga. Card first published it in the January 1979 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

Plot summary[edit]

Herman Nuber has just woken up from a state of suspended animation brought on by the fictional drug Somec and is looking forward to returning to his virtual world conquest game. Unfortunately for him his position is being played by someone else and that person doesn't want to sell it for any price. When he discovers how poorly the person is playing he gets desperate and arranged to meet the other player. He is shocked to discover that the other player is his own grandson Abner Doon. During the conversation Abner tells Herman that he is going to completely destroy his position. After his position is destroyed, Herman meets with Abner again and learns that he plans on doing the same thing to the empire in the real world. When he tries to warn people Herman is locked away in a psychiatric hospital for five years until he is convinced that it isn’t true. At the end of Herman’s life they meet one last time and Abner says he's sorry for ruining the game.

Connection to the Worthing Saga[edit]

This story uses several plot elements also used in The Worthing Saga, such as the sleeping drug Somec and the taping of memories. It takes place on the planet Capitol shortly after the events in the story "Lifeloop". The story of Abner Doon’s destruction of Herman Nuber’s game position also appears in a much shorter form as a part of chapter 4 in Card's novel The Worthing Chronicle.

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