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The Variable Man and Other Stories

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  274 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Four powerful novelettes and one complete short novel that clearly expose the impressive talent and startling imagination of Philip K. Dick:
The Variable Man;
Second Variety;
The Minority Report;
A World of Talent.
Paperback, 220 pages
Published December 10th 1977 by Sphere Books Limited (first published 1957)
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Apr 20, 2017 Paul rated it really liked it
A second hand book bargain. A bargain because I don't think I actually have two of the stories in this book; and the others I read long enough ago that I came to them almost fresh. Two of these have been made into movies - Minority Report and Second Variety. Minority Report was a good movie, and Screamers (Second Variety) a not bad B-Movie. But movies never really seem to capture the downbeat nature of Philip K Dick - his books have protagonists rather than heroes.

Although the central character
Sep 13, 2012 Raj rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Billed as a complete novel along with a selection of shorts, The Variable Man itself is more of a novella these days. A man is pulled accidentally from his own time into the 22nd century where his very existence is a variable factor that the computers planning the war against Centarus can't plan for.

This story is very much of its age, with the idea of all-seeing computers, where you just feed in the data to complex sociological questions and the answer pops right out. Thomas Cole, the variable m
Marts  (Thinker)
May 09, 2010 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
The Terran system is encircled by the Proxima Centauri empire with both being constantly at war and developing their own weapons to fight the other. Terran mathematically calculates its chances of winning and develops a bomb called Icarus. With the help of 'The Variable Man' who has arrived from the past by accident in what is called the 'Time Bubble'.......
Feb 06, 2017 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
THE VARIABLE MAN and Other Stories. (1957). Philip K. Dick. ***1/2.
This volume collects a novella and four short stories previously published by Dick in science fiction pulps. The works included were:
*The Variable Man (1953): The hero was a handyman from the early twentieth century who was caught up in a tornado caused by men of the future in 2128, and transported to their time frame. His fix-it skills change the whole nature of how wars are conducted in the future. A good read.
*Second Variety (
David Allen
The Man in the High Castle this isn't, but this collection of five stories and novellas from early in PKD's career is very entertaining, quirky but fast-moving, with not a dud in the bunch. Among them is Minority Report, the story on which the movie was based. In the title story, a fix-it man who operates from a horse-drawn wagon is mistakenly whisked from 1914 to the 22nd Century, where he proves crucial to an interplanetary war. Ha ha!
Don Murphy
Dec 29, 2011 Don Murphy rated it really liked it
Poor Thomas Cole. One day, wandering about a pre WWI world. The next moment, brought 200 years into the future. People studying the past accidently bring Cole to the future and inadvertanly allow him to escape. He goes into a war-torn world, fighting an alien force from Proxima Centuri. They have the Terran forces blocked, and the earth forces will only fight when their odds are in their favor. Each side play a game of chess, moving but never striking. Finally, the earthlings create an ultimate ...more
Dec 25, 2009 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
Some of Dick's earliest short stories are presented here. And what does the reader find? Signs of genius, signs of what would come, and so forth. All these stories are good. And by that I mean real good. Some of these stories would be latered turned into full novels, such as Dr. Bloodmoney with the character Hoppy Harrington. The very first short story by Dick ever published is here, the Wub one. And already in this first story we can see the potential this man had. Good stuff here.
Feb 17, 2007 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Four novelettes & a complete short novel ('The Variable Man') by Mr Dick. Includes 'The Minority Report' (shock of shocks, it's better than the movie). I remember liking 'Autofac' the most, though it's been a while since I last read it. Overall, it's a collection of good, not great, classic Dick fare (read: pre- Valis). Nice to have around to thumb through every so often. And the cover (1957 printing) is nifty, too.
DeAnna Knippling
Feb 10, 2011 DeAnna Knippling rated it liked it
These are stories from the early 1950s, and it shows - not my favorite writing era, because everything has to be so bombastic and full of things that we find dated now, stylistically. Oh, the adverbs...

At any rate, I could have passed on the title story, but it was nice to be able to read Second Variety and Minority Report, finally.

Great ideas, but I like his later writing better.
Erik Graff
Oct 13, 2009 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dick fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I probably picked this up at Knack's Drugstore in Bridgman, Michigan at a time when I knew nothing of Philip K. Dick. The "Second Variety" story about World War III scared the hell out of me as I sat reading it at the trestle table on the porch we used for eating when there were guests.
May 04, 2010 Nathan rated it really liked it
Read "The Variable Man" and "Second Variety" on
Aug 21, 2010 Edward rated it it was amazing
Philip K. Dick is the absolute best SciFi/fanatasy writer of all time! I particularly liked Jon's World, Progeny and of course Variable Man.
Dmitry Verkhoturov
Sep 04, 2014 Dmitry Verkhoturov rated it it was amazing
Для рассказов Autofac и A World of Talent отсутствуют переводы, читать получится разве что на английском.
Jan 31, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, own
Great writing. Great stories. Well worth a read.
Ivan Lutz
Jul 23, 2014 Ivan Lutz rated it it was ok
Jako jako jako stari SF. Znam da je Dick bio pionir u svačemu, ali ne mogu se mislima vratiti u 53. godinu sve da hoću. Ni tata mi se tada nije rodio:)
Jun 23, 2015 Matus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Variable Man" and "Minority Report" are clever, enjoyable reads.
(Others are okay; my rating is for those two.)

(4.51/5 stars.)
William rated it really liked it
Sep 23, 2007
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James Wilson rated it really liked it
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Aug 22, 2014
Dawn Clemens
Dawn Clemens rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2017
Nick rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2012
Trip Maus
Trip Maus rated it it was amazing
Sep 27, 2007
R.S.A. rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2011
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Mar 17, 2008
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Oct 15, 2012
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Bill Reynolds rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2016
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Viola Dealy rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2015
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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