Will Barrent woke up on the prison planet Omega, where status grows at the point of a flamer, as a brain-wiped criminal, transported for murder. A lucky kill (or was it planned?) earned him citizenship, but even as a respectable poison salesman, Will can't keep on the right side of the authorities – he just won't do evil. If he won't reform, he'll be slated for the Games, in which gladiators who defeat their peers must fight mechanical monsters programmed to kill in interesting ways.
But if Barrent's heart stays in the right place – still beating in his chest – then with the help of the Mutants, and his grudging guardian angel Moera Ermais, he may yet come to the attention of Group Two, who mean to strike at the status civilization where it all began... by invading Earth.
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 comical.
Sheckley was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2001.