Breakfast at Twilight

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"Breakfast at Twilight" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was received by the Scott Meredith Literary Agency on January 17, 1953 and first published in Amazing Stories, July 1954.[1]

"Phil Dick's third major theme is his fascination with war and his fear and hatred of it. One hardly sees critical mention of it, yet it is as integral to his body of work as oxygen is to water."—Steven Owen Godersky[2]

In the story, a middle-class American family is suddenly thrown into the middle of a nuclear war. American soldiers burst into the house looking for survivors and supplies, under the family's amazed and frightened eyes. Unlike most of Dick's fiction, this short story has a positive and potentially optimistic ending. When they come back to their own time continuum during a bombing, and right before their house is atomized, the members of the family are conscious of what may happen and willing to do all they can to avoid the future. At the end of the story, the words spoken by Tim McLean, the head of the family, rekindle the hope that men can work for a better future. Tim reassures his amazed and worried neighbours by saying that the damage to his house was caused by some problems with the central heating. Then he comments, "I should have got it fixed ... I should have had it looked at a long time ago. Before it got in such bad shape ... before it was too late".


  1. ^ Rickman, Gregg (1989), To The High Castle: Philip K. Dick: A Life 1928-1963, Long Beach, Ca.: Fragments West/The Valentine Press, p.389 ISBN 0-916063-24-0
  2. ^ The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick, Volume 1, The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford, (1990), Citadel Twilight, p. xvi, ISBN 0-8065-1153-2

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