By Philip K. Dick

Fourteen strangers got here to Delmak-O. 13 of them have been transferred by way of the standard specialists. One acquired there by means of praying. yet when they arrived on that planet whose very surroundings appeared to set off paranoia and psychosis, the rookies chanced on that even prayer used to be dead. For on Delmak-O, God is both absent or reason on destroying His creations.

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To a dog or a cat a man seems like God: he can do god-like things. But the quasi-biological, ultra-sentient life forms on god-worlds--they're just as much the products of natural biological evolution as we are. In time we may evolve that far. . even farther. " He pointed his finger determinedly at Seth Morley. "They didn't create the universe. They're not Manifestations of the Mentufacturer. All we have is their verbal report that they are Manifestations of the Deity. Why should we believe them?

Belsnor nodded. " Seth Morley moved toward the door of the briefing chamber. "Goodnight," he said, over his shoulder. Neither of them answered; they seemed indifferent to him and to what he had said. Will I be this way in a couple of weeks? he asked himself. It was a good question, and before long he would have the answer. "Yes," Babble said. " He had on pajamas and slippers and an ersatz-wool striped bathrobe. " He watched Seth Morley bring forth the miniature building. "Oh, one of those. " Seating himself at the microscope, Seth Morley pried open the tiny structure, broke away the outer hull, then placed the component- complex onto the stage of the microscope.

On the dresser the miniaturized building slid a minute panel aside. A tiny cannon projected. Mary did not see it, but Susie and Seth Morley did. " Seth gasped, groping at his wife to get hold of her hand. He yanked her toward him. The vase crashed to the floor. The barrel of the cannon rotated, taking new aim. All at once a beam projected from it, in Mary Morley's direction. Susie, laughing, backed away, putting distance between herself and the beam. The beam missed Mary Morley. On the far wall of the room a hole appeared and through it black night air billowed, cold and harsh, entering the room.

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