We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick

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Philip K. Dick’s novelette, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, is a tale full of false memories, soulful wishes, and the planet Mars – all classic Dick themes. It’s hero, Douglas Quail, is a man who longs to visit Mars yet is shrewish wife denies him even the day-dream. But when he discovers that he’s actually already been there, as an agent for a sinister government agency, things start getting a bit confused. Is he really a deep cover Black-Ops assassin with suppressed memories and a false identity? Or is he just a sad shmendrik with delusions of grandeur?

World's Best Science Fiction 1967 - We Can Remember It For You Wholesale - illustration by Jack Gaughan

Here’s the editorial introduction, from the publication in Fantasy & Science Fiction, for We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. The article mentioned as being on “page 62” is by Theodore L. Thomas, a noted SF writer and prolific columnist for F&SF in the 1960s. Thoma’s article is based on another entitled “THE FOOD THEY NE’ER HAD EAT” which is available as a |PDF|.

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale - Editorial introduction from F & SF

One audiobook version was recorded for BBC Radio 7, now called BBC Radio 4 Extra, and broadcast back in 2003. It’s available via torrent at RadioArchive.cc.

RadioArchives.ccWe Can Remember It For You Wholesale
By Philip K. Dick; Read by William Hootkins
2 MP3s via TORRENT – Approx. 64 Minutes [UNABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7 (now called BBC Radio 4 Extra)
Broadcast: September 2003
Doug Quail lives in a future world of memory implants and false vacations. Doug wants to visit the planet Mars but after a mishap at a virtual travel agency, he discovers that he’s already been there. First published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1966.

And, here’s the trailer for the remake of the movie of the story that Philip K. Dick wrote:

Posted by Jesse Willis

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5 thoughts to “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick”

  1. I’ve even less interest in this after reading some reviews than I previously did.

    Would it be unacceptably spammish to put in a plug with links for Radio Free Albemuth? That’s a PKD film I want to see which has been completed for over a year, seems to be true to the source material, has gotten some good reviews and hasn’t found a distribution deal. I think this may be a film whose storyline has more appeal to the general population than to big corporations with the money and ability to finance major distribution; the novel RFA was partly a reaction to Watergate and other abuses of power.

  2. Go for it.

    BTW, I went to see the new Total Recall last night. At the end I walked out feeling insulted.

    It’s a movie that steals from lots of other movies besides the one it stole the title from.

    -Many of the music cues were stolen from Inception (horns!)

    -The street scenes were from Blade Runner

    -Endless armies of uninteresting robots from Attack Of The Clones

    -Robot factories from I, Robot

    -Car chases from Minority Report

    -And the heart from A.I.

    But I still have some questions.

    First up, why the fuck would you drill a tunnel through the Earth from London to Australia so as to get unskilled workers to put together human shaped robots?

    And don’t tell me that these human shaped robots can apparently do anything except put human shaped robots together.

    Second, why if these robots are fucking robots do they need to wear armband touchscreens to program themselves?

    Third, am I right in thinking that whatever the fuck the metaphor that the movie was going for was bogus? Or at it’s most charitable just old news?

    Seriously? Was it just “colonialism, it’s bad”?

    If so, gee thanks “Original Film”, I didn’t know that.

    And more generally here’s a comment. The movie ignores the original short story, the good parts of the original movie, is unfunny at all times, swaps blood-letting for glass-shattering, and is full of impossible physics.

  3. I think this link without my blathering on will be the best plug for Radio Free Albemuth. http://www.radiofreealbemuth.com/blog/

    While I was getting the link I resubscribed to the mailing list which I seem to have dropped off of some time ago. Maybe during a computer breakdown causing emails to bounce or just some random thing.

  4. I can’t watch the Hollywood SF stuff anymore. The teal/orange color grading obsessions, the ridiculous over the top sound effects, cheesy CG simulations, etc. Even the trailer to this movie looks terrible…

    Spielberg is probably the exception, for example in The Minority Report and the War of the Worlds remake… his attention to detail is noticeably better than the rest.

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