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Om Second Variety
"Second Variety" is an influential short story by Philip K. Dick. A nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the West has reduced much of the world to a barren wasteland. The war continues however among the scattered remains of humanity. The Western forces have recently developed "claws", which are autonomous self-replicating robots to fight on their side. It is one of Dick's many stories in which nuclear war has rendered the Earth's surface uninhabitable. Reviewing the story, critic Zack Handlen wrote, "'Second Variety' is grim, violent, and suspenseful. There's enough characterization to keep the protagonists from being indistinguishable, but not much beyond that. While most of the twists are easy to spot once you discover the main plot- basically [an] 'Are you or aren't you a machine' deal-they still have an impact, and Dick makes his point quite clearly.