we can remember it for you wholesale
I love dick and i’ve been wanting to go into his short story catalogue ever since (like many of you) I first discovered so-and-so film is based upon a story by philip k dick – and then that-other-film, and yet-another-film, and then oh-this-film-too.
I’d only read 2nd variety, having tracked it down in a best of sf collection, so I decided to go for we can remember it for you wholesale (try telling someone that’s what you’re reading. it’s a very hard title to understand when said out loud), which is of course what total recall was based upon. I got the dick collection the preserving machine, and wasn’t familiar with any of the other stories in the collection at all.
wholesale is great! I loved it. what I was looking forward to was that “what the hell’s going on” feeling, and the confusion over whether he had or hadn’t been to mars or was already on mars, or what the hell? and in wholesale you get that even more than you do in the film.
I love those moments of discovery in dick stories. and then also those moments of confusion. I guess you could also call those moments of discovery too – when characters discover that things aren’t as they thought. but yeah, I find the revelations and the confusions really exhilarating in dick’s writing. And I also love how draws situations out. I guess that’s what makes me like him more than most other science fiction authors – with them revelations are usually pretty clear cut and often helpful or conclusive. but in dick revelations often add more confusion, they make things less clear. characters merely discover that things aren’t as they thought they were – but in learning this they don’t discover how things actually are either. they just know that they don’t know (I sound a bit like keenu reekes now).
anyway, that’s the shit I love about dick. and as I said, wholesale is a great story for how it plays with revelations.
an interesting thing is the difference between the film and the story. where the film has quaid go on this whole adventure on mars, and there are guys with strange feelers for hands and women with three breasts, the short story is more focused on untangling whether or not he really went to mars. it also explores why he might not remember if he did – what if he was a secret agent and learnt or did something that he shouldn’t have?
like I said I just love this kind of mystery and ambiguity. I really enjoyed reading this!