Vulcan's Hammer

Vulcan's Hammer

infobox Book |
name = Vulcan's Hammer
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = Cover of first edition (paperback)
author = Philip K. Dick
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Science fiction novel
publisher = Ace Books
release_date = 1960
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
pages = 139 pp
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =
"Vulcan's Hammer" is a 1960 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick.

Plot introduction

In 2029 CE, the Earth is run by the Unity organisation after a devastating world war. Unity runs the planet, controlling humans from childhood education onwards through the Vulcan series of artificial intelligences, but is fought by the Healer movement.

Unity Director William Barris discovers that the Vulcan 3 computer has become sentient and is considering drastic action to combat what it sees as a threat to itself. Vulcan 3 has been kept ignorant about information related to the Healer revolutionary movement by Managing Director Jason Dills, who is still loyal to its (also sentient) predecessor, Vulcan 2. Vulcan 2 fears that it will soon be superseded by Vulcan 3, and previously established the Healers as a movement to overthrow its successor.

Dill and Barris begin to suspect one another, as Dill has received a letter that refers to Barris' previous contact with the Healers, but Vulcan 2 suffers partial damage in a terrorist attack. It advises Dill not to inform Vulcan 3 about the existence of the Healers, for fear that Vulcan 3 will order their mass execution. However, Vulcan 3 has already noticed the gap in available data about the rebels, and manufactured killer androids of its own. Barris and Dill resolve their differences and attack Vulcan 3, resulting in the destruction of the artificial intelligence, but Dill dies in the attempt. Finally, however, humanity is free from Unity and its technocratic dictatorship.

Release details

*The novel is an expansion of a novella that was first printed in Future Science Fiction magazine in 1956.

*"Vulcan's Hammer" was first published as a novel by Ace Books as one half of Ace Double D-457, bound dos-à-dos with John Brunner's "The Skynappers". It was republished in 2000 by the UK Orion Publishing Group in an omnibus volume containing three of Dick's novels originally published as Ace doubles, the other two being "The Man Who Japed" and "Dr. Futurity".


*Andrew Butler: "The Pocket Essential Philip K. Dick": Harpenden: Pocket Essentials: 2007: ISBN 1904048923

External links

* [ Official PKDick website review]
* [ "Vulcan's Hammer" cover art gallery]

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