Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Variable Man by Philip K Dick

Offical Blurb

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?

My Review

An odd book, in its structure at least. About two and a half hours long in only three parts with the first and last parts being an hour each. I guess that comes down to how the author chapterized his work.

The story however is pretty good. As the blurb says, we find our future driven by computers calculating the odds of every action before we take it. This authoritarian culture is at war, or at least, wants to be at war with an alien race. They are constantly striving to change the odds in Earths favour so that a real winnable war can take place.

I was confused a little by the characters interpretation of odds. At one point the odds become 7-6 in Earths favour and they declare its time for war. Those odds look a little slim to me! I'd want 100-1 or better before I'd risk all.

Anyway, odds aside, this is a good little book, with some twists in it to keep you interested and listening. The variable man of the title is our hero, a man out of his time and totally unpredictable.

Of course and as usual Gregg Margarite's reading is outstanding and sugar for your ears.

If your a sci fi fan, download it!

Reading 3
Production 2
Story 3

Total 8/9

Download the book from Librivox

Listen to the first chapter