Philip K Dick – Second Variety
Another short story I recently finished if by well-and-still-not-so-well-known Philip K Dick. He is in some sense well known, as many extremely popular movies are based on his works, examples are Blade Runner, Total Recall, or Minority Report. On the other hand he as person and writer is not so well known, compared to the movies. I read Second Variety, another one of these influential stories. The famous Terminator series of movies use this book’s theme, as well as the movie Screamers.
Set in a post-apocalyptic earth were a war between the Soviet Union and North America has converted the earth into barren wasteland. North American government has moved to a base on the moon and on earth only scattered troops ramble around. The Americans create self-replicating robots called claws programmed to kill humans. Only the Americans have special defense devices that protect them. This turns the war to the American side, but the toll is high. The robots start developing on their own, and slowly develop into a dangerous new species.
Compared with another dystopian book I have read, The Road by Cormac McCarthy (by the way, The Road is one of the most disturbing and depressing books I read), Second Variety is more compressed, a bit more action, and a bit more physical, while The Road is more psychological. Both are worth reading close to each other to compare the styles and the way how tension is created.
I enjoyed reading Dick’s novel, as usual. Recommended reading, doesn’t take much time, and still gives you lots of fun.