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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.
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.
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.