book cover of The Defenders

The Defenders

(1953)
A Novella by

 
 
The Defenders is a science fiction novelette by American author Philip K. Dick, and the basis for Dick's 1964 novel The Penultimate Truth.

Eight years ago a nuclear war began between the United States and the Soviet Union. American survivors evacuated to gigantic bunkers miles under ground. Sophisticated, radioactivity-immune robots called "leadys" continue fighting the war on the devastated surface that is far too dangerous for humans.

The Soviets have similarly evacuated underground, and each side builds powerful weapons and vehicles for the remote-controlled war they only see from film that the robots deliver. The security department asks Taylor, an American war planner, to observe the interrogation of a leady regarding the progress of the war. Although the robot reports that lethal radioactivity and sophisticated new Soviet weapons continue to make the surface dangerous for humans, the observers find that the leady is not radioactive. Taylor learns that this is the second such robot the security department has found; it assigns him to an expedition, wearing lead suits, to investigate the truth about surface conditions.

Taylor's group surprises the leadys at the surface and demands to see the outside. Although the robots attempt to delay the humans as long as possible, the group discovers outside the bunker an undamaged valley with forests, animals, and a farm. The leadys reveal that the war ended as soon as the humans evacuated because the robots could not see a rational purpose for it. Analyzing history, they found that groups of humans warred with each other until they matured to overcome conflict. Humanity is almost ready for a single culture, the current worldwide division into American and Soviet sides being the final step.

Genre: Science Fiction

Used availability for Philip K Dick's The Defenders

Paperback Editions

February 2018 : Paperback
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Title: The Defenders
Author(s): Philip K Dick
ISBN: 1-986080-73-0 / 978-1-986080-73-6
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

June 2014 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Defenders
Author(s): Philip K Dick
Publisher: Spoken Realms
Availability: Amazon   


Kindle Editions

September 2018 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Defenders
Author(s): Philip K Dick
Publisher: Sheba Blake Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU