Posts Tagged ‘Time to Come anthology’


S4E8B – Second Variety (short story)*


Wherein the podcast returns to its origins and delves into another existential robot mystery by the great questioner of reality: Philip K. Dick. I am joined by former co-host Richard Mehl a/k/a Rick, and we make for a tight duo this go round as we grapple with one of the author’s lesser known short stories. 

Ryan found this early cold war era tale a fun read. He agreed with other reviewers who have indicated that it is demonstrative of themes which PKD would spend greater amounts of his time on and become more well known for during the later years of his career. It was a great window into that perspective of the author’s developing voice. Rick felt more blase about the whole affair having a “it’s just typical Dick” take on things. He was rather jaded wading through the morose morass this author tends to weave with his characters and the stuff that confounds them. 

Rick didn’t get a chance to read our bonus story (Jon’s World), but we did briefly discuss the plot of that tale and its relationship to our subject matter as it was set in the same universe.

Since we were discussing two shorter works this episode we were able to sort of go through each one blow by blow. It was a zoomed-in look worthy of all the curvy plot twists and spin outs which the author wrote into each of the narratives. Hope you enjoy our story breakdowns and revisiting of PKD, about whom there always seems to be something new to discover and consider.




“Second Variety (1953)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) + Bonus: “Jon’s World (1954)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) 

Ryan: 3 1/2 Stars “…a post-apocalyptic cold war style tale early in this author’s career that contains entertaining edges and hints, emblematic of future efforts in plot ideation and explorations into uncertainties for which this author is known…

Rick: 2 Stars “…a paranoid experience in the final war between the United States and Russia where humanity lies on the brink and is about to pretty much extinct themselves with their own technology…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on



During the episode we mentioned that the two short stories discussed were published in a science fiction magazine (Space Science Fiction, May 1953) and science fiction anthology (Time to Come, 1954). You can read more basic information about these publications by clicking their cover art (right and left images) or visiting the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (a community cataloging website):

The other podcast referenced during our episode which reviewed the bonus story (Jon’s World) is called  “American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)” and their episode on that topic can be listened to here: or This story does not seem to be widely reviewed so it’s worth a listen if you want to know more about it.

If you want to read another review of our subject story (Second Variety) then check out this article by T.S. Miller concerning a different PKD anthology (The Adjustment Team: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2) which was written for science fiction magazine “Strange Horizons” and published on October 03, 2011:

The story “Second Variety” discussed on this episode can be read and listened to for FREE at these websites:


Philip K. Dick eventually moved away from short stories to focus more on novels, in part because of his frustrations with editors changing the stories without permission. One such occurrence, mentioned on the show, involved  a work titled “The King of the Elves,” which has been in film development off and on throughout the years:

Lastly, the biography of Philip K. Dick that Ryan cited on the episode and which he has used in various other episodes where we covered works by this author is by Lawrence Sutin and called: “Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick.” This work can be found here:


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.