Some Kinds of Life

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First published in Fantastic Universe Oct-Nov 1953

Bob Clarke is called up to fight in the war against the Martians in order to secure access to the rexeroid deposits on Mars. Without rexeroid the control boards of the cars on Earth wouldn’t function and everyone would have to go back to manual steering. This conflict with the Martians is the latest in a string of skirmishes over Earth’s necessary domestic materials after the clashes with Venus over the kyron ore that maintains their home’s temperature and Pluto for the lonolite that powers their computers.

Bob is one of the many casualties of the rexeroid war, and boys under eighteen are then drafted in order to meet the quota for soldiers. Bob’s son Tommy is sent into combat against the natives on Calisto for the gleco that controls the keyless entry to their homes. He survives but dies not long after during the trektone war on Europa. Soon the only way for Terra to fill its ranks is to draft women, and Joan is enlisted for battle in the nymphite war on Saturn.

The last thing we see are aliens arriving from Orion some time later to find elaborate homes from an advanced civilization but no sign of the Terrans who used to live there.

In order to avoid having two stories credited to Philip K. Dick, “Some Kinds of Life” was published under the pseudonym Richard Phillips when it appeared alongside his story “Planet for Transients” in Fantastic Universe in 1953.

Cast of characters

  • Joan Clarke – our protagonist
  • Bob Clarke – Joan’s husband
  • Tommy Clarke – Joan and Bob’s son
  • Erickson – the Sector Organizer