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30

<Oct 3, 1952

May 1953

Beyond The Door

Jon’s World

Movie: SCREAMERS (1995)

FIRST PUBLICATION

HISTORY:

    After a hiatus in September 1952, Dick sent off the manuscript for "Second Variety" to the Agency. It arrived there on Oct 3, 1952. At 16,000 words this is a long short story and perhaps explains the seeming period of inactivity in September.

    "Second Variety" was first published in Space Science Fiction in May 1953. It was selected for the PKD collections THE VARIABLE MAN in 1957 and THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK in 1977. The story also lent its name to the title of the third volume of THE COLLECTED STORIES.

    Popular over the years with editors; "Second Variety" has one of the best records for anthology appearances of all Dick’s stories, having at least 16 such between 1954 and 2001. Notable among these is the Australian SELECTED SCIENCE FICTION #1 in May 1955 for which this story provides the cover. Also, Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest's anthology SPECTRUM II of 1963 should be mentioned and Fred Saberhagen’s MACHINES THAT KILL in 1984. Most recently the story can be read in Harry Turtledove and Martin Greenburg’s THE BEST MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION OF THE 20TH CENTURY published by Del Rey in May 2001.

    Philip K. Dick had this to say about "Second Variety":

    My grand theme -- who is human and who only appears (masquerading) as human? -- emerges most fully. Unless we can individually and collectively be certain of the answer to this question, we face what is, in my view, the most serious problem possible. Without answering it adequately, we cannot even be certain of our own selves. I cannot even know myself, let alone you. So I keep working on this theme; to me nothing is as important a question. And the answer comes very hard.

    He also talks about SCREAMERS in an interview with John Boonstra:

    I have been up there to another film project, the little Capitol Pictures one, called Claw. (Based on his short story "Second Variety," with a screenplay by Dan O'Bannon, and subsequently retitled Screamers(1995)) They're very nice. I really like them. Every change that's made, they send me a copy to get my opinion. They just treat me like a human being. In other words, I am able to discriminate between essentially reputable people up there, and these high-pressure types.

    He also said of the script:

    A winning script... Sensational ending, better than my original story. The last line has tremendous punch. I read it, emitted a tremendous shriek and fell over backwards!

    With "Second Variety" PKD arrived with a vengeance. Arguably this is one of his best short stories ever. In a future post-apocalyptic world man has turned the manufacture of weapons over to machines. Machines that kill and evolve to one purpose only: the destruction of mankind. This is such a good story that Hollywood thought it suitable to turn into a movie. In 1995, SCREAMERS starring Peter Weller was released to worldwide non-acclaim although some fans consider this film to be the most faithful to the original story than any of the PKD-based movies. In this story, as in "The Little Movement", a teddy bear figures; but not so benevolently this time.

    "Second Variety" rates

     The next story in our chronology is a sequel to "Second Variety" and is titled "Jon's World."


    The first edition of the Australian Selected Science Fiction Magazine (May 1955) has a cover dedicated to "Second Variety" it is reproduced here:


Other Magazine and Anthology Appearances        More Cover Pix Here: aaaPKDickBooks.jpg (3234 bytes)

1954 SecVar54.jpg (13014 bytes) YEAR'S BEST SF NOVELS 1954, Fell, hb, ?, Mar 1954, 317pp, $3.50 (?) {Ed. Bleiler & Ditky} Not in UK editions  
1955   YEAR'S BEST SF NOVELS, 2nd Series, Grayson, ?, ?,?,? (?){Ed. Bleiler, Ditky} This is the UK edition of the above title from Fell Publishers.  
1955 May see above pic SELECTED SCIENCE FICTION #1, ?, pb, ?,?,? (Pitt) {Australian}  
1957 pkd61.jpg (20643 bytes) THE VARIABLE MAN, Ace, pb, D261, ?,?,? (?)  
1962   SPECTRUM II, Gollancz, hb, ?, ?, 18/- (?) {Ed. Amis, Conquest}  
1963   SPECTRUM II, Harcourt, Brace & World, hb, ?, 1963, 271pp, ? (?) {Ed. Amis, Conquest} LCC: 63-13497  
1964 SecVarBerkley64.jpg (13610 bytes) SPECTRUM II, Berkley, pb, F-350, ?, $0.50 (?)  {Ed. Amis, Conquest}  
1965 SecVarPan65.jpg (11303 bytes) SPECTRUM 2, Pan, pb, N75, 1965, ?, 5/- (?) {Ed. Amis, Conquest}  
1977 tbopkd2a.jpg (11871 bytes) THE BEST OF PHILIP K. DICK, Ballantine, pb, 25359, ?, ?, ? (?)  
1977   BEST SF STORIES, Hamlyn, hb, ?, 1977, 750pp, L2.95 (?) {Ed. Stapleton} 0-600-38243-5  
1984 ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES, SIUP, hb, ?, 1984, ?,? (?) {Ed. Warrick}  
1984 SecVarAce84.jpg (8067 bytes) MACHINES THAT KILL, Ace, pb, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Saberhagen, Greenburg}  
1987   SECOND VARIETY  
1989   ROBOTS, Signet, pb, ?,?,? (?) {Ed. Asimov, Greenberg, Waugh}  
1989 SecVar89.jpg (13804 bytes) THE WORLD TREASURY OF SF, Little-Brown, hb, ?,?,? (?) {Ed. Hartwell}  
1991 SecVar91.jpg (14475 bytes) ROBOT WARRIORS, Ace, pb, ?,1991 Oct, 240pp, $4.50 (Joe Adams) {Ed. Waugh, Greenberg}ISBN: 0-441-53166-0  
1995 horror1.jpg (14733 bytes) HORROR STORIES, Kingfisher, pb,  ?, ?, 2003, ? ? (Horse) {Ed. Susan Price} 1-856-97187-2  
1997c second1.jpg (19627 bytes) SECOND VARIETY, THE COLLECTED STORIES OF PKD, ?, ?, ?, ?, ? (?)  
1998 ReelStuff.jpg (15374 bytes) REEL STUFF, DAW, pb, ?, 1998, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Thorsen, Greenberg}  
1999 t12121.jpg (18694 bytes) FUTURE WAR,  Penguin, pb, ?, 1999, ?,? (?)  
2001 BestMilitarySF.jpg (12262 bytes) THE BEST MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION OF THE 20th CENTURY, Del Rey, pb, ?, 2001, ?, ? (?) {Ed. Turtledove}  
2003 t843.jpg (13897 bytes) HORROR STORIES, Kingfisher, pb,  ?, ?, 2003, ? ? (?) {Ed. Susan Price} 0-753-45638-9  
       

 NOTES:    

The Patchin Review

        "I have been up there to another film project, the little Capitol Pictures one, called Claw. (Based on his short story "Second Variety," with a screenplay by Dan O'Bannon, and subsequently retitled Screamers(1995)) They're very nice. I really like them. Every change that's made, they send me a copy to get my opinion. They just treat me like a human being. In other words, I am able to discriminate between essentially reputable people up there, and these high-pressure types. Shit, Blade Runner started yelling at me because, in an article that I wrote in the Select TV Guide, I mentioned androids. They said, "That's very dangerous talk, mentioning androids in connection with this film. We're not using the word android." Well, it seems hard to avoid a word that's in the title of your own book. And they wanted to know how I'd gotten hold of a copy of the screenplay. "How did you get hold of it?" they said, with the emphasis on the word "you," you know? {The Patchin Review, No. 5, Oct/Dec 1982, pp. 2-6. Interviewer, John Boonstra}

Philip K. Dick: Confessions Of A SF Artist

    I don't like living alone very well at all. I do have a girlfriend in France, who I met at a convention in Europe. She keeps calling me and trying to convince me to move over there. If I wasn't so involved with my work, I'd do it. And there's all these big Hollywood deals..."

    What big Hollywood deals?

    "They want to make a film of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It's going to be directed by Ridley Scott, who directed Alien. The last reported budget on it was $20 million."

    The assistant produced of Alien is interested in making a movie out of "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," a short story. Another film company reportedly is interested in rights to "Second Variety," with a screenplay written by Dan O'Bannon, who, just by coincidence, wrote the screenplay for Alien.

{Denver Clarion, October 23, 1980. Interview by George Cain and Dana Longo}

Cinefantastique, Jan 1988. p52ff

    A winning script... Sensational ending, better than my original story. The last line has tremendous punch. I read it, emitted a tremendous shriek and fell over backwards!

    In article 'The Terminator and Philip K. Dick: An Insider's View of how James Cameron may have been Inspired by the Master' by Daniel Gilbertson.

    See this article for history on the development of SCREAMERS.


Collector’s Notes

Half: "Second Variety" in THE BEST MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION OF THE 2Oth CENTURY, Ed. Turtledove and Greenburg, Del Rey, tp, 989-9, 2001. $10.62

Phildickian: "Second Variety" in ROBOTS, ANDROIDS AND MECHANICAL ODDITIES, Ed. Patricia Warrick, Southern Illinois University Press, hb, 159-3, 1984. VG+/VG+. is clean and tight with light shelfwear, and minor bumping at the spine ends. The dust jacket is lightly rubbed, with faint scuffing to the front panel, but still crisp and free of chips rips & tears covered with a brodart. $40

 


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