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The Variable Man

The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick
By: (1928-1982)

The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick presents a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of a future society where technology controls nearly every aspect of human life. The protagonist, a gifted repairman named Thomas Cole, is thrust into a high-stakes conflict between two powerful factions, each vying for control of a mysterious device that could change the course of humanity.

Dick masterfully weaves together themes of manipulation, artificial intelligence, and the consequences of unchecked technological advancement. The world-building is detailed and immersive, painting a vivid picture of a dystopian future where humans struggle to maintain their autonomy in the face of a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The characters are complex and engaging, particularly Cole, whose ingenuity and resourcefulness make him a compelling protagonist. The moral dilemmas he faces as he navigates this treacherous new world force the reader to consider the ethical implications of advancing technology.

Overall, The Variable Man is a gripping and thought-provoking read that will appeal to fans of science fiction and dystopian literature. With its sharp social commentary and thrilling plot twists, it is a timely reminder of the power – and peril – of the ever-changing world of technology.

Book Description:
Predictability has come a long way. The computers of the future can tell you if you’re going to win a war before you fire a shot. Unfortunately they’re predicting perpetual standoff between the Terran and Centaurian Empires. What they need is something unpredictable, what they get is Thomas Cole, a man from the past accidently dragged forward in time. Will he fit their calculations, or is he the random variable that can break the stalemate? – The Variable Man first appeared in the September, 1953 issue of Space Science Fiction magazine.

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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 3 reviews)

Reviewer: - January 17, 2021
Subject: We all need a variable man in history
Absolutely amazing. MAN needs to think, analyze, think outside the box. That's my take on the story. Reading the story was better than hearing.
Reviewer: - September 17, 2015
Subject: The Variable Man
Loved it. PKD takes us to an admittedly cartoon like future world poised on the brink of galactic war. Conflict between science and army ensues precipitated by the accidental arrival of a man from the 50s. Narration seemed strangely stilted, but still good. PKD seems to me to have almost predicted the use of social-media people-power politics, cool thought given the A-bomb fears prevalent when this was penned.
Reviewer: - May 4, 2015
Subject: The Variable Man
I didnt like it. Found the narration to be good and well read but the story felt to be lacking some substance. The history didnt have to be in too much detail but there was pretty much no backstory. There was a lot of what felt like one long action scene traversing the whole thing. A guy with his trusty screwdriver.

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