Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Second Variety

Hi readers. I'm doing a bit of catching up and have got a number of posts I'm working on.

In the mean time, I thought I'd point out a short story just added to Project Gutenberg, which absolutely blew me away the first time I read it: "Second Variety" by Philip K. Dick.

The story was originally published in 1953, and I read it for the first time about 30 years after that. I suspect that it wouldn't have nearly the same impact on a teenager reading the story for the first time today1, particularly if the reader is familiar recent series on the SyFy channel2.

Even if it isn't as novel an idea as it was 50 - or even 25 - years ago, I do think it's well worth reading.

Read Philip K. Dick's "Second Variety"

(via Free Speculative Fiction Online)

1. I originally read "Second Variety" in a short fiction anthology. I was a bit surprised that the original version was illustrated with what I would consider "spoilery" drawings. I'm not sure if that would have changed my perception of the story the first time I read it or not.

2. Speaking of series on the SyFy channel, I tuned in to the recent Riverworld-inspired miniseries, and was sure I had missed the first few episodes - the characters had a riverboat, and period clothing, and metal stuff, and blue aliens. It turns out I had only missed about 30 minutes and many the hardships that were obstacles for the characters in Philip Jose Farmer's novels were absent from the SyFy version. Despite Tahmoh Penikett, I just couldn't get into it. I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed it even if I hadn't read the originals. Oh well.

3. And just so that no one is confused, there really isn't any biology  in "Second Variety". I just got excited when I saw it was available online.

Image: Wounded soldier, WWI


  1. Thanks for the recommendation Peggy ,
    welcome after such a long time passed in oblivion!

  2. Thanks, Peggy -- I hadn't read that one. But I'd swear there was a movie adaptation that I saw in the last couple of months while flipping channels. It looked like a mid 1990s production (i.e., better than the dreck that SyFy puts out these days). I cannot for the life of me remember the title or cast, but the plot line was way too similar to be a coincidence. Now I'll be wracking my brain trying to figure it out!

  3. Thanks Arvind :)

    Guy: could it have been one of the more recent incarnations of Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

  4. Found it! Screamers ... link is to the Wikipedia entry, which in turn contains IMDB links. It seems there was a sequel as well, but I've never run across it.

  5. You have a good memory. That Wikipedia article doesn't sound familiar to me at all.


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