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Second Variety

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Author: Philip K. Dick
Published: 1953
Language: English
Wordcount: 16,284 / 55 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 97.8
LoC Category: PS
Audiobook: librivox.org
Downloads: 8,764
Added to site: 2010.04.18
mnybks.net#: 27384
Origin: gutenberg.org

The claws were bad enough in the first place—nasty, crawling little death-robots. But when they began to imitate their creators, it was time for the human race to make peace—if it could!

Show Excerpt

. He wore a faded blue sweater, ragged with dirt, and short pants. His hair was long and matted. Brown hair. It hung over his face and around his ears. He held something in his arms.

"What's that you have?" Hendricks said sharply.

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?"

"Yes."

"Underground?"

"Yes."

"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?"

"Different."

Hendricks studied him. "How old are you?"

"Thirteen."

* * * * *

It wasn't possible. Or was

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 3 reviews: *****
2013.04.17
Sardo Weems
*****

This was adapted and filmed as Screamers. The story is better than the movie. Automatic, self-replicating killing machines are set loose on a planet during wartime. The problem is that the nasties don't just replicate, they design and improve new varieties of killing machines.

This is a tense, well-written story by a master.

2011.07.24
normb
*****

Another P.K.Dick classic. It's been adapted to other media (think Terminator) which will give the reader a leg up on figuring out the ending. But it's still a great read about the hubris of the human race and what happens when our war creations turn against us.

2011.07.22
Warren Stalley
*****

I can't believe that there are no reviews for this story as it is excellent. Plenty of action and also food for thought. Enjoy.


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