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The plot concerns an old man who claims to have travelled back in time from a future in which Earth has lost a devastating war to its own Martian and Venusian colonies. The man turns out to be a synthetic human, designed to trick the Earth people into believing they could never win the war, forcing them to make peace. This type of android is a forerunner of the type appearing in Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and its film adaptation.
A similar, supposedly time-displaced "war veteran" character appears in Dick's novel The Zap Gun.
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