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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Rifle Range (Virtual Shooting Range)  
  Virtual skeet shooting gallery with clay pigeon traps created by aliens.  

Enoch Wallace was a man with a rural upbringing who fought in the Civil War. When he was approached by aliens about running a way station in the galactic chain, he was asked if he would like some sort of entertainment center built into the station. And what sort of "clay pigeons" are offered for skeet shooting?

The basement was huge... carved deep into the rock that folded up to underlie the ridge...

Finally the gallery widened into an oval room and the walls here were padded with a thick gray substance that would entrap a bullet and prevent a ricochet.

Enoch walked over to a panel ... and thumbed a tumbler, then stepped quickly out into the center of the room... He stood on a little hillock and in front of him the land sloped down to a sluggish river bordered by a width of marsh.

Enoch felt the hair crawling on his scalp and he thrust the rifle out and ready. The very air of this place - wherever it might be - seemed to crawl with danger.

From Way Station, by Clifford Simak.
Published by Doubleday in 1963
Additional resources -

In this particular skeet shooting session, Enoch had his choice between the following "clay pigeons":

  • Wolf-like predators, with hairless faces.
  • Toad-like monstrosities, six feet long and three feet high, each with a single faceted eye
  • Flying birds with rapier-like heads
  • An enormous black balloon-like creature that walked taller than trees.
The range had a remarkable variety of contests; in the thousands of times Enoch had used the rifle range, he had never encountered the same creatures twice.

See the entry for dimensino for the very best in totally immersive alien entertainment technologies; from Time is the Simplest Thing, also by Simak.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Way Station
  More Ideas and Technology by Clifford Simak
  Tech news articles related to Way Station
  Tech news articles related to works by Clifford Simak

Rifle Range (Virtual Shooting Range)-related news articles:
  - ST-2 Shooting Simulator Like Simak's Virtual Rifle Range
  - Microsoft Patents Immersive Display
  - Microsoft RoomAlive - Your Basement Is The Game

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