Summary:After spotting an Outsider scouter beyond Pluto's orbit, Carson almost crashes into a planet. The g-forces cause him to black out. He awakes, naked, on a blue-sand planet--not even a planet, but a hemisphere bordered by force fields.
A voice enters his mind and tells him he must destroy the alien that is rolling in the sand. Roller, he calls his enemy. Carson makes a telepathic link with the Roller to make peace but fails. The Roller only wants to fight.
Analysis:They cannot get at each other directly, but by the Roller's killing and throwing a lizard, they learn the projectiles work fine. Carson has the stronger throwing arm and forces the Roller back. Carson, already parched, has a gash in his leg. He tries to patch it with local vegetation, but that only seems to make it worse. Meanwhile, the Roller has constructed a catapult. He manages to destroy it, but he is weakening. It makes another.
Later, he discovers that the Roller's de-legged lizard is actually alive. It was lack of consciousness that allowed through the barrier. Carson uses this information to cross the barrier and hopes the Roller throws a rock at him to revive him through pain. The Roller obliged Carson bides his time to attack.
Some interesting comparisons/contrasts with the Star Trek episode:
- The human is the stronger party in the story, the Roller more agile.
- No barrier in the TV episode. This also leaves them nothing but older, primitive technologies; whereas in the story, the barrier becomes a kind of technological tool if not a direct weapon.
- The story's lizard who is something of an indirect ally in the story becomes the enemy in Star Trek (although perhaps they are later allies--or at least, no longer enemies).
- The Trek episode works better as anti-war theme--both because the captains have a go and because Kirk chooses not to continue the fight to the death.
- However, what works better for the story was the importance of the little guy. SF is full of important, epic characters. Here, the little guy gets his chance at the limelight.