Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Total Recall by Philip K. Dick

I actually read the short story that Total Recall was based on (originally published as "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" -- I can see why they changed it!) months ago, when the ebook was offered at a discounted price to coincide with the release of the new movie.  But since my husband and I finally saw the new movie recently, I have been thinking about the short story, and decided to reread it.

Although the movies (both the original one and the new remake) are based on the short story, and the overall premise is the same -- future world, guy lives a boring life and buys memories of a life on Mars only to find out that he was actually there, as a government agent, and his memory had been rewritten -- the point of the short story is actually quite different.  Someone took the main premise and turned it into an exciting action movie (and then someone else did the same thing all over again, because there's nothing new in Hollywood), but the story is actually one of those ironical, quirky kinds of stories.  The bulk of the story isn't about the government chasing him down, as it is in the movies. He actually gives himself up pretty quickly in the story, but on a certain condition -- and since I don't want to spoil it for anyone, I'll let you read it to find out what that condition is and how it turns out!

I actually like the ending of the short story quite a bit more than the movies.  It's ironic, funny, and sticks with you for a long time after you're done reading it.  Too bad they didn't incorporate that part into the movies, although I guess it would have been too wacky an ending for a solid action movie!  It's a fun story, in any case, and only about 30 pages on the Nook, so I recommend reading it if you never have.

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