Review of “Weekend in a War Zone” (1977)
George R. R. Martin (writer).
Read in 2019.
Violence for entertainment in a future capitalist society, styled after 20th-century nation-state infantry warfare. Civilians pay to act as soldiers on weekends and actually kill each other.
One of Martin’s SF shorts outside the Thousand Worlds setting. The most common ending to stories like this is the main character falling naturally into their “primitive” role as a killer. This is very close to that lazy fantasy. Too close in fact, but the character writing is good. Compare “Commuter Army” (1973), where the fighting is real and capitalism is what drives two Japanese workers to participate in it as if it were a job.