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Second Variety

Philip K. Dick

Book Overview: 

Early victories by the USSR in a global nuclear war cause the United Nations government to retreat to the moon leaving behind troops and fierce autonomous robots called “Claws”, which reproduce and redesign themselves in unmanned subterranean factories. After six bloody years of conflict the Soviets call for an urgent conference and UN Major Joseph Hendricks sets out to meet them. Along the way he will discover what the Claws have been up to, and it isn’t good.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The boy held it out. It was a toy, a bear. A teddy bear. The boy’s eyes were large, but without expression.

Hendricks relaxed. “I don’t want it. Keep it.”

The boy hugged the bear again.

“Where do you live?” Hendricks said.

“In there.”

“The ruins?”




“How many are there?”

“How—how many?”

“How many of you. How big’s your settlement?”

The boy did not answer.

 Hendricks frowned. “You’re not all by yourself, are you?”

The boy nodded.

“How do you stay alive?”

“There’s food.”

“What kind of food?”


Hendricks studied him. “How old are you?”


It wasn’t possible. Or was it? The boy was thi. . . Read More

Community Reviews

First time I have read Philip K. Dick and I thoroughly enjoyed his stories and the suspense that he puts into them. I can also especially in this collection what a major influence he has been on science fiction and SF movies. Definitely will read more of his.

My Philip K. Dick Project #5

Something is happening here. Dick is evolving. This collection contains plenty of the fun little trifles of the kind I’ve come to love reading volumes 1 and 2, but a number of these are much meatier and more substantial. Dick is dealing with bigger ideas here and his sto

Philip K. Dick penned over 210 short stories! Here's another excellent collection with the majority written between1954 and 1957. Highlights include THE TURNING WHEEL, THE LAST OF THE MASTERS, TONY AND THE BEETLES, TO SERVE THE MASTER, SHELL GAME, and THE CHROME FENCE. Highly recommend for die-hard

I can only conclude that Dick wrote this batch of stories while battling the amphetamine induced cockroaches that where crawling out of his mouth.

Stories like The Father Thing, Second Variety, The Last Of The Masters, Upon The Dull Earth, have tones that range between extremely paranoid to soul num

This third volume of Philip K. Dick’s collected short stories represents a transition period in his struggle to become a successful commercial fiction writer. Written in the years 1953–54—a year and a half after Dick began writing full-time and a year before he published his first novel Solar Lotter

I had a really blast time with this mind blowing science fiction short story. It is both brutal and scary at many levels- I was hooked from the first few pages. The Russians nuclear bombs obliterated the most of Europe and North America. Few people survived the catastrophe that deemed their life end

Truly another masterpiece of vintage science fiction by Philip K. Dick.


Nearly all of these stories reflect Dick's own paranoia. The ones that don't reflect it aren't as interesting.

i'm always of two minds with pkd.

on the one hand, he's a pretty ungreat writer. nothing much in the form of style, chauvinistic, repetitive.

on the other hand, so many great ideas are born in these stories. not just the paranoia and abuse of power he's famous for, but real compelling ideas about ali

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