Review Blog

Oct 18 2012

Total recall by Philip K Dick

cover image

Gollancz, 2012. ISBN 9780 575 10029 9.
(Ages 12+) Recommended. Science fiction. Published to coincide with the release of remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name, now a cult classic, this book showcases many of Dick's well known stories. It includes those that have been made into successful films, We can remember it for you wholesale (Total recall), Do androids dream of electric sheep (Blade runner), as well as Minority report, A scanner darkly, The adjustment bureau and Paycheck. Dick often plays around with the idea of what is real, and in Total recall, the idea that a company can sell you fake memories is the starting point for factory worker Quaid, to question what he is and why he is there.
Each of the 24 stories included in this volume are questioning and unlike any other. The book has an introduction by Thomas M Dasch which is well worth reading, and the notes at the end of the book allow a peep into the mind of the creator when he wrote the stories.
For students of scifi, interested in where some of the big ideas first came from, or interested in the chronology of scifi, or simply interested in these stories, then this is a sound read. My only quibble is the size of the print. 44 lines to a page makes a dense text which is not easy to read, and means only the determined scifi fan will stick to the reading, which is a shame when this book offers such a breadth of fascinating stories and commentary.
Fran Knight

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