The Variable Man


Written in 1952

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The Indefatigable Frog   Chronology The Crystal Crypt

(1953 Sep): SPACE SF {ill. by Ebel}
(1953 Jul): SPACE SF Vol.2#2 (UK)
(1957): THE VARIABLE MAN AND OTHER STORIES, Ace, pb, D261
(1987): BEYOND LIES THE WUB/BROWN OXFORD

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SRG 43

"Design and discard." This mindless solution for selfmade problems also defines the larger military situation in "The Variable Man" where the statistical probability of winning an arms race foments more activity than the actual building or use of weapons. A twentieth-century "fixit man", accidentally scooped up by a time dredge, operates as a deus ex machina to break the fruitless treadmill of competition.


TTHC    274: The political element is an important element in many of Dick's stories; it will be recalled tht he mentioned it to Janet Robards in 1949. Time and again his stories carry anti-authoritarian, anti-militarist messages. In "The Variable Man," for instance, a handyman from the past not only perfects a future society's faster-than-light travel apparatus, but after nearly being killed by a militarist faction of the world government sets out to design a one man, one vote apparatus that will decentralize government forever.


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