Home > books > we can remember it for you wholesale

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!

Categories: books
  1. April 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Well, you have been quiet for a while. Glad to see a post. 🙂

    • jean pierre
      April 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      i certainly have :D. and glad to be back!

  2. April 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I’m a bad bad person, because your first line just reads dirt to me. I’m sorry 😉 I’ve never read any PKD, but I’ve always meant to, I’ve seen a few adaptations of his books, and the paranoia and wierdness seems like stuff I’d enjoy. But possibly too much:)

    Like the new look, and yay to have you back (you are back right?)

    • jean pierre
      April 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      haha! that was the intention, fency. it comes from carl and i talking about how one can’t say “i like dick” when refering to dick – which i thought pretty unfair, as he doesn’t get to be spoken of as a HEINLEIN or an ASIMOV or a HERBERT, etc. so i’ve decided to refer to him as dick now in spite of (and enjoying) the fact that it sounds dirty.

      dick is an acquired taste (oh dear… it looks like it’ll be harder to keep calling him that than i thought). but, yeah, he is. or, at least, he’s not for everyone. in my experience, of all the great scifi authors he is the one that polarises opionion the most within the scifi community.

      but i love him, and exactly for those reasons you mention. in fact, there’s a bit of a feeling of ishiguro’s “unconsoled” about his work. just generally a bit weirder, and often more high-octane.

      and, yup, i’m black. (another stupid joke)

      • April 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm

        Well I’ll have to give dick a try so 🙂

  3. April 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Phillip K Dick is an other I have never read and I feel guilty about it. 😦 I’ve been meaning to.

    • jean pierre
      July 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      hi colin! as i said to fency about le guin, it’s nice having those authors – means we have something to look forward to! 😀

  4. Kim
    May 3, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Dick is an experience I’ve yet to enjoy 😉

    Welcome back!

    • jean pierre
      July 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      thank you kim! let me know what you think of dick when/if you get around to him!

  5. June 1, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Cannot believe I missed that you had posted again! And so sorry about not getting back to you yet on the emails. You’ve been missed, my friend.

    I have only read a couple of PKD short stories, but I have yet to be disappointed. I also really enjoyed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. PKD is weird, to be sure, but you know the guy has something going on when so many of his stories compel people to film them.

    • jean pierre
      July 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      no worries, carl! i haven’t had time to write again since. and i haven’t exactly been conspicuous on people’s blogs either 😉

      ah, i’m pleased to hear that you’ve enjoyed the dick you’ve read! 🙂 love the man!

      • July 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm

        We are actually reading his short novel The Cosmic Puppets right now for the Classic Science Fiction Book Club.

  6. jean pierre
    July 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

    ooh, that’s exciting, carl! and you’ve been doing loads of cool scifi things on your blog lately. have got to get more involved!

  7. July 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    You are missed!

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