The players met, on the great, timeless board of space. The glittering dots that were the pieces swam in their separate patterns. In that configuration at the beginning, even before the first move was made, the outcome of the game was determined. Both players saw, and knew which had won. But they played on. Because the game had to be played out. Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) was a Hugo and Nebula nominated American author. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist, and broadly comical.Sheckley was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2001.