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Book Information: Second Variety

Second Variety (1953) [Short Story]
by Philip K. Dick Rating: Weighted - 7.2 / Average - 7.0 of 10 (2 votes) (Rate!)
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Summary (IBList user synopsis):

The story is set in the aftermath of an extremely extensive war between forces identified as Russia and the UN. Early Russian victories had caused the American government and production to flee to the Moon Base. To counter the almost complete Russian victory, UN technicians develop robots, nicknamed claws - the basic ones are "a churning sphere of blades and metal" that attack from ambush "spinning, creeping, shaking themselves up suddenly from the grey ash and darting towards... [any warm body]", UN forces are protected by a special tab. Within six years the increasingly sophisticated and independent claws have apparently destroyed the Russian forces, repairing and redesigning themselves in automated factories. The UN forces receive a message asking for a single policy level officer to come to them for a conference on matters of grave urgency. The UN victory turns out to be rather more Pyrrhic than they hoped.

This story was adapted as the 1995 movie Screamers.

Published in Space Science Fiction, May 1953. Reprinted in:

  • Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities, Southern Illinois University Press 1984
  • Machines That Kill (1984)
  • The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Vol. Two: Second Variety, Underwood-Miller 1987
  • The World Treasury of Science Fiction, ed. David G. Hartwell, Little Brown 1989
  • Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction # 9: Robots, ed. Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, NAL Signet 1989
  • The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 3: Second Variety (1991)
  • Robot Warriors, ed. Charles G. Waugh & Martin H. Greenberg, Ace 1991
  • The Philip K. Dick Reader, Carol Publishing Group/Citadel Twilight 1997
  • The Reel Stuff, ed. Brian Thomsen & Martin H. Greenberg, DAW 1998
  • The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century, ed. Harry Turtledove & Martin H. Greenberg, Del Rey 2001

Original title: Second Variety
Original languages: English


Genre: FictionScience FictionAdventureMilitaristic

This work is a subwork of the following works :
     Machines That Kill (1984) [Anthology]
      Authors: Alfred Bester , Roger Zelazny , Philip K. Dick , Cordwainer Smith , Barry N. Malzberg , David Drake , Fred Saberhagen , Keith Laumer , Murray Leinster , Richard Matheson , Robert Sheckley , Robert Silverberg , Theodore Sturgeon , Carol Emshwiller , Peter Phillips
     Second Variety: Volume Two of the Collected Stories (1987) [Collection]
      Author: Philip K. Dick
     World Treasury of Science Fiction, the (1989) [Anthology]
      Authors: Arthur C. Clarke , Ursula K. Le Guin , Kurt Vonnegut , Alfred Bester , Isaac Asimov , Ray Bradbury , Philip K. Dick , Robert A. Heinlein , John Updike , Stanislaw Lem , Brian W. Aldiss , Frederik Pohl , Samuel R. Delany , Thomas M. Disch , Walter M. Miller, Jr. , Anthony Burgess , Keith Roberts , Larry Niven , John Varley , Fritz Leiber , Henry Kuttner , Catherine Lucille (C.L.) Moore , Robert Bloch , Damon Knight , Cyril M. Kornbluth , Robert Sheckley , Theodore Sturgeon , Avram Davidson , Arkady Strugatsky , Boris Strugatsky , Boris Vian , J. G. Ballard , Gene Wolfe , Lewis Padgett , Italo Calvino , Jorge Luis Borges , Joanna Russ , John W. Campbell , Steve Allen , Josef Nesvadba , Karl-Michael Armer , Gérard Klein , Manuel van Loggem , Kirill Bulychev , Tor Åge Bringsvaerd , Nathalie-Charles Henneberg , Kono Tensei , John Berryman , Rene Rebetez-Cortes , Annemarie van Ewyck
     Second Variety: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 3 (1991) [Collection]
      Author: Philip K. Dick
     Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century, the (2001) [Anthology]
      Authors: Arthur C. Clarke , Orson Scott Card , Philip K. Dick , Anne McCaffrey , George R. R. Martin , Cordwainer Smith , Gregory Benford , Poul Anderson , C. J. Cherryh , David Drake , Joe Haldeman , Harry Turtledove , Walter Jon Williams

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