Review: Total Recall / Author: Philip K. Dick / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
The title of this anthology may confuse some of you. After all, Phillip K Dick never wrote a book called Total Recall and given that he died in 1982, it’s unlikely that he wrote a special tie-in novel for the 1990 movie of the same name, or the forthcoming 2012 remake. He did write We Can Remember It For You Wholesale however, the short story on which both movies are based, and of course, that story is included in this anthology.
Dick wrote over one hundred short stories during his highly prolific career, and Total Recall is a stark reminder of what we lost; he was a brilliant sci-fi author and continues to be a must-read author. Despite this being a blatant movie tie-in, they haven’t taken the easy option here; this is a good selection of his work, and showcases all the things that the author was good at writing about. We have tales about transcendental experiences, the nature of reality, the importance of identity, the dangers of monolithic corporations and the loneliness of being. Rarely comforting, often challenging, but always worth a read. The anthology includes stories from the length and breadth of his career and there is very little fat on this.
That said, if you already have a collection of his work, there’s a reasonable chance that Total Recall will contain some duplicates. This is very much aimed at people who need introducing to one of the greatest science fiction writers of the last century. If you’ve heard of Phillip K. Dick and yet never gotten around to reading him, do yourself a favour and pick this up, pop it in your bag (or put it close to your reading space) and dip into this anthology when you need to read something good.