Who wrote this torture story?
February 24, 2009 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Science fiction story, who wrote it?

Late 70's- early 80's, probably from Analog. Regular people drafted to be torturers, first for terrorists and kidnappers, but by the end traffic violators. Set in San Francisco perhaps?
posted by Marky to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
mr tula says he read it and it also included a guy putting his cigarette out in someone's eyeball, but he can't recall the author or title.
posted by tula at 8:48 PM on February 24, 2009

I think what Mr. Tula is referring to is one of Niven's Gil Hamilton stories. It's a universe where damn near everything gets the death penalty to feed the organ banks. But they don't torture, just execute you and part you out.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:06 PM on February 24, 2009

Response by poster: Mr. Tula is thinking of "Death by Ecstasy", by Larry Niven. It's in the collection "The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton." The protagonist pokes himself in the eye with a lit cigarette to goad the villain in arm's reach.
posted by Marky at 10:06 PM on February 24, 2009

mr tula begs to disagree about it being a Larry Niven story, and is now racking his brain and googling furiously for more details. He also recalls people being tied to chairs. Marky, anything else coming to mind?
posted by tula at 10:28 PM on February 24, 2009

Response by poster: In the story I mentioned, Gil Hamilton is a government agent investigating "organleggers," criminals who kidnap and cut up people for their organs. An old friend of his is found dead, via an electrical implant in the pleasure center in his brain, and judged a suicide. He doesn't believe he would kill himself and investigates. It turns out the friend was being blackmailed by one of the organleggers, and was killed because he was planning to turn him into Gil. The criminal kidnaps Hamilton it find out how much he knows, ties him in a chair, questions him, brags about his crimes, then Gil tricks him into coming into arms reach by poking a lit cigarette into his own eye, then chokes him. He can do this despite being tied up because he has a "psychic" arm, that is limited telekinesis.

It's not a bad story, worth a trip to the library.
posted by Marky at 1:11 AM on February 25, 2009

Rec.arts.sf.written is always a good source for SF story IDs.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:52 AM on February 25, 2009

Response by poster: Found it! "The Reluctant Torturer" by Hayford Peirce, in the September 1983 Analog. Also in the collection "With a Bang: And Other Forbidden Delights."

My apologies, Mr. Tula was correct. The protagonist does put out a cigarette out in someone's eye.
posted by Marky at 5:46 PM on July 21, 2009

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