We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (Philip K. Dick)

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale is a short story by Philip K. Dick (and the basis for the Total Recall movies).

Douglas Quail is stuck in a marriage he pretty much hates and only dreams of going to Mars, which he really can’t afford. So he decides to visit a REKAL center where they implant fake memories into your head that seem entirely real. But before they can actually go through with, they discover that Douglas has actually already been to Mars on a secret mission. And that’s where the trouble only starts.

I never read anything by Dick before, but after this one story I can confidently say that this man couldn’t write for shit. The story reads more like a rough outline, a first jotting down of some ideas than a finished product. Plus the added misogyny doesn’t make things any better.

But at least the ideas are interesting. And if all of his stories are written that way, I can see why they are adapted into movies left and right, since they’re basically just templates anyway.

Summarising: it’s worth reading as it’s short and does have some interesting concepts in it, but great writing this is not.


  1. :) yeah, his style is pretty, er, boring. I don’t remember if “The Man in the High Castle” was really all that different, but it’s considered good by, you know, literary people, so you could try that.

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