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NULL-O by Philip K. Dick

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NULL-O is a short story by Philip K. Dick, that could very well be a Silver-Age comic book series. It’s short, cruel and awesome.

Spoiler-free presentation:

NULL-O is the name given to a new humanoid species that has somehow evolved from humanity. Like every super-advanced species, they are cold, emotionless, way smarter than we could hope to be and already in control. Their only telltale characteristic appears to be their long, funnel-shaped ears, which can be swiveled toward any direction.

However, unlike their 60’s sci fi counterparts, these villains aren’t aiming to conquer the Earth. Oh no. Their absolute purpose is to impose order. To bring about homogeneity and end the chaos. They decide to achieve this, by enforcing their cold method to the world, the only way possible:

By bombing the shit out of everything.

My thoughts:

Once again, this story is steeped in ‘comic-book logic’. It’s simplified, it doesn’t waste your damn time with unnecessary explanation and it’s not what you’d call realistic.

The Null-Os, despite being almost comical in their evilness, are excellent villains and Dick kinda makes you root for them as the story goes on. Much like the Eyes Have It and the Golden Man, this story also appears to be a parody of a sort, a way for Philip K. Dick to strike at the trend of presenting mutants as friendly to humanity. Or, to be more precise, at the fantasy of people who consider themselves mutants and the future lords of humanity.

Technical stuff:

  • Word count: 3,500
  • Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Read his stories with 50’s cold war country music playing in the background.

Where you can find this story:

  • In his collected works anthology The Father-Thing (available in every online bookstore worth its salt)
  • This story is currently not available online. Which means you’re gonna have to buy it. And trust me, this is a sound investment


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