The Father-thing

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The Father-Thing is a 1954 science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. The story, told through third-person narration but focusing on the child, concerns the replacement of a boy's father with a replicated version. At first, only the child sees the difference and has to recruit other children to help him reveal the truth. The story is typical of Dick's short stories of the period, and also reminiscent of some of the short fiction of Ray Bradbury.

The premise was widely used in fiction of the time. Works like Who Goes There? and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, especially popular in the 1950s, expressed the fear that people are not what they seem to be. Dick's story is typically more personal because it is not about the invasion of a community, but of a family.

The Father-Thing is the US Underwood-Miller (1987) and UK title of the third collected volume of Dick's short stories (retitled Second Variety after "Second Variety" was moved from Volume 2 by Citadel).

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