The Variable Man

Read by Gregg Margarite (1957-2012)

(4.5 stars; 618 reviews)

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 accidentally 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. (Summary by Gregg Margarite) (2 hr 49 min)


1 – The Variable Man (Chapters 1 – 2) 1:06:14 Read by Gregg Margarite (1957-2012)
2 – The Variable Man (Chapter 3) 39:15 Read by Gregg Margarite (1957-2012)
3 – The Variable Man (Chapter 4) 1:03:42 Read by Gregg Margarite (1957-2012)


A lesson for humanity

(5 stars)

I really enjoyed the listening of this audiobook. Thanks Greg... and RIP. As for the book.. this is a great lesson for the humanity. We should stop all wars and focus our knowledge and technology towards improving human life and exploring the universe both the inside and outside the human mind.


(5 stars)

Great short science fiction with a wonderful reader. Philip K Dick is amazing at hooking you at the beginning and conveying an excellent message at the end.

It's official, I'm a PKD fan

(5 stars)

Very good story. Second story I've listened to by PKD, with the "Second Variety" being the first. Some complain about the narrator, but I like him, especially compared to some of the other narrators I've heard. I hope more books I'm interested in are done by him.

Possible SPOILER review

(4 stars)

A very good story - save for the ending seemed a bit rushed. And maybe I'm too obvious to be a writer myself, but had I been creative enough to write this, I'd've had Rhinehart, & Dixon specifically input as individual constants, & ask the computer the odds with one, then the other removed. Make Dixon inconsequential, & Rhinehart a definitive detrimental constant that creates the negative balance. Upon seeing this, Dixon grabs a guard's gun and shoots Rhinehart in the head. For which he's arrested for murder (as well as the new crime of deifying a computer). [As to Cherikov & Cole] I'd've left the enticement intact, save have/make the machine's purpose that of quantifying mental processing aptitude, potentiality of despotism, & level of psychotic or sociopathic dysfunction:: rather than an everyone gets a say machine. Afterall, entrenched bureaucracy is not going to give up its authority. Yet you may convince it that no one wants to be surrounded or oppressed by potential hitle

Such a cool story

(5 stars)

John Cole is the variable man from the past who is brought by accident to the future. It's a good thing too, because without him, the Terrans really can't fix Icarus, the bomb destined to free the Terrans from Centarian blockade. Ah, but what would a story be without an antagonist? Enter Reinhart, the shoot-em-first-and-ask-questions-later general who doesn't like variables in his war calculations. In fact, he prefers dead variables. I have to say, for a short story, this one really kept me listening. It was great! The reader is also great; I enjoy his style of reading. Enjoy!

Great story, well read.

(5 stars)

Another engaging tale. Nobody could imagine the "What would happen if...." in quite the same way as Phillip K. I have no complaints about the reader. His style didn't detract from the story in my opinion, and he was one who was able to pronounce words properly. Alwas a plus, especially when reading a Phillip K Dick story. Ol' Phil sure did know how to use words.

Great Sci-fi Story, Very well read!

(4.5 stars)

Spend yr evening or afternoon listening to this book rather than sitting in front of the Boob-tube. I didn't realize that PKD was so optimistic, and the reading was in step with the story. Thank you, PKD & Greg, wherever you are...

The Variable Man

(4 stars)

I'm a big PKD fan so I found this to be an enjoyable story. It took some time for me to get use to the narrator, but he eventually grow on me.