Audio Articles – Longreads from The Companion

Tessa B. Dick gives us the definitive take on Total Recall, what her late husband would have thought, and how much of Philip K. Dick’s wit, wisdom, and empathy she sees in Paul Verhoeven’s blockbuster.

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Tessa B. Dick gives us the definitive take on Total Recall, what her late husband would have thought, and how much of Philip K. Dick’s wit, wisdom, and empathy she sees in Paul Verhoeven’s blockbuster. 

Read by Rebecca Davis and written by Tessa B. Dick. Theme song by Lofi Geek. 

We Can Remember it for You Wholesale (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1966): 

The original article on The Companion: 

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Creators & Guests

Rebecca Davis
Co-host of 3 🍟 Short Podcast. Producer at @thecompanionapp . Director. Currently in post-production on #Eisforfilm
Ben Herbert
Part of the team building @TheCompanionApp for fans of sci-fi (He/Him) I enjoy creative things, sports and whatever hygge is
George Mole
He/Him | Community Manager @TheCompanionApp 🖖🏼💻🏳️‍🌈🚀#TransRightsAreHumanRights #LiveLongAndFuckTERFs #BlackLivesMatter #StopAsianHate
Hattie Smith
Producer & dog lady
James Hoare
Tusken Master of Teräs Käsi. Writer of military history, witchcraft and weirdness. Editor @TheCompanionApp. He/Him. Big Doc Energy.
Nick Hayward
Project Lead, Product & Talent and Podcast Producer 📱🎙 @TheCompanionApp excited to be part of the team building the new home for sci-fi! He/Him

What is Audio Articles – Longreads from The Companion?

The Companion's Audio Articles are recorded and produced versions of some of our deep dives, untold stories and interviews that we don't think you'll find anywhere else.

You're listening to the
Companion's audio articles, a

new series that features our
best stories on the companion.

I'm Rebecca Davis. Sadly, the
visionary Philip K. Dick passed

away before he was able to see
his ideas enter the movie

mainstream. But we're delighted
to be able to present this

incredible review of Total
Recall from his wife, and the

uncredited co author of A
Scanner Darkly, who gives us

perhaps the definitive take on
the movie, what her late husband

would have thought and how much
of his wit wisdom and empathy

she sees in Paul Verhoeven's
blockbuster, searching for my

husband in Verhoeven's movie, by
Tessa B. Dick.

When I first saw Total Recall in
the theatre in 1990, I had to

threaten to call the manager
because some teenagers sitting

behind me kept hooting and
shouting every time they saw a

naked or scantily clad woman on
the screen. I did not pay $6 To

listen to them for two hours.
What impressed me most strongly

was the way that the film
captured my husband's sense of

humour. On subsequent viewing,
I've discovered many more layers

of meaning in the film. Despite
its obvious reliance on action

and special effects, which I
believe to be unnecessary to

carry the plot. The story runs
much deeper than action and

adventure which you will see if
you pay attention to the

underlying themes. Sadly, Philip
K. Dick did not live long enough

to see the many films that his
work inspired, starting with

Blade Runner in 1982. Many films
have been based on or inspired

by his novels and stories. He
did see the rough cut of Blade

Runner, but he never had the
opportunity to see the finished

film is premature death in 1982
ended a brilliant career that

was just beginning to bring him
the recognition he so greatly

deserved. Paul Verhoeven 's 1990
film Total Recall turns on a

more intellectual premise than
most viewers expect from a

science fiction movie. Based on
Philip K Dick short story, We

Can Remember It for You
Wholesale, first published in

the magazine of fantasy and
science fiction, April 1966. It

raises questions about whether
we can trust our own memories,

did what we remember really
happen? Did it happen the way we

remember it? The premise asks
these questions and more, but we

must provide our own answers. In
the story, and the film, a man

whose lifelong dream has been to
go to Mars as a secret agent

finds a way to make his dream
come true by having false

memories implanted in his brain.
Unfortunately for him, he really

has been to Mars, but he's not
supposed to remember. In fact,

his real memories of what he did
on Mars have marked him for

death. These issues underlie
both the Paul Verhoeven film and

the story on which it is based.
Wholesale recall, We Can

Remember It for You Wholesale
explores the question of whether

we can trust our own memories in
a more gentle way than the

action adventure film. Douglas
Quayle digs protagonist rather

than the muscular Quade of the
movie attempts to fulfil his

childhood dream of visiting Mars
by purchasing false memories at

the offices of recall
Incorporated, but things

immediately go wrong. Recall
uses a drug cocktail to induce

hypnotic sleep so they can
implant memories of the

customer's fantasy vacation.
When the drugs take effect,

Quayle reveals that his fantasy
about conducting a secret

mission on Mars is really a
buried memory. As a matter of

national security, he must never
recall his mission to Mars,

where he assassinated a major
political figure. On one level,

this tale reflects the film The
Manchurian Candidate as a source

of inspiration. While it also
brings to mind Lee Harvey

Oswald's firm denial of having
shot President Kennedy or anyone

else on that November day in
1963. In private conversations,

Dick speculated that perhaps
Oswald's memory was erased. Or

perhaps he was subjected to mind
control as was the fictional

hero of the Manchurian
Candidate. Beyond that, however,

the story presents an underlying
fantasy that is also true, but

which has implications reaching
far beyond the fate of the main

character. The 1990 film Total
Recall starring Arnold

Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone
takes the story as a starting

point and then runs in a new
direction. Rather than unpeeling

the levels of false and real
memories, The film presents a

series of action scenes with
plenty of violence. The mild

mannered clerk of the story
becomes a burly rough edged

construction worker in the film.
Interestingly, the film captures

Philip K Dick sense of humour,
which while often dark,

sometimes makes us stop and
think. For example, a robot taxi

driver in the film fails to
understand what the hero means

when he yells just go. The robot
insists on a specific

destination before He will make
the car move. Drive drive, would

you please repeat the
destination? Anyway? Just go

Don't please stay. Said, I'm not
familiar with that address.

Would you please repeat? That
scene reflects our frequent

frustration with labour saving
technology, which Deke

brilliantly depicts in his
stories and novels. Whereas

Quayle in the story negotiates
with his adversaries Quade in

the film meets force with
greater force. Schwarzenegger

fits the role of the action hero
Douglas Quaid. Although Douglas

Quayle of the short story is
much more of an ordinary man who

feels more empathy than the film
hero who kills his co workers

and beats up his wife. Of
course, those actions are

justified because his coworkers
attacked him first and his wife

is really an agents and to spy
on him and prevent him from

remembering his mission to Mars.
Sharon Stone makes the role of

quids fake wife believable, and
she makes it easy to applaud him

for beating her up when she
attacks him. The hero of Dick

story, on the other hand, saves
the world by an act of kindness.

His wife in the story nags him
and makes him unhappy. But she

is not the cold bitch of the
film. She is simply unhappy with

her daydreaming husband, who,
like Walter Mitty, lets

opportunity pass while he
immerses himself in fantasy.

Looking to Mars. The film takes
his most radical divergence from

the story when Quaid actually
goes to Mars, he finds himself

in a scenario reminiscent of
Dick's novel The teleported man.

Colonists have been forced into
slave labour mining minerals

near Olympus Mons, the massive
volcano on Mars. Their labour

supports the war effort and the
lavish lifestyle of their

overlord co Hagen, who needs
quite alive for reasons that

become somewhat clear only in
the last half hour of this two

hour film. If the colonists defy
the authorities in any way, they

are deprived of oxygen. The thin
almost non existent atmosphere

on Mars provides a pivotal plot
point that leads to a

spectacular ending. The only
reason he has any idea what to

do is that he receives
instructions from recordings

that he made for himself before
the authorities wiped his

memory. His antagonists have
gone to great lengths to

convince him that he's still
dreaming. But on Mars, he meets

the woman of his fantasies, and
she is real. On his arrival at

the colony on Mars, the film
morphs into a story about

slavery and environmental
degradation rather than a simple

action thriller. While it does
not preach the film does present

the dark side of colonisation
and servitude. Many of the

children born in the mining
colony are mutants created by

the radiation that flows through
the thin shielding over their

homes. Quaid walks past them in
search of someone he must meet

and he does not seem to care
about them. However, their

interactions with each other
make them sympathetic

characters. While Schwarzenegger
is performance is primarily

athletic, he does display some
acting skill. Sharon Stone plays

the role of the femme fatale
very well. But the real standout

is Rachel Dakotan as Molina to
coton displays a wide range of

attitudes and emotions and they
all come across as genuine. She

has appeared in a number of
films and television shows, most

notably her recurring role as
Lieutenant Arlene Gonzalez on

the series Law and Order LA. She
also played Dr. Marie sironen,

on Grey's Anatomy, and most
recently, Gina in the 2019

series, the act.

The special effects are quite
advanced for their time, the

depiction of the Martian
landscape is convincing with red

cliffs and canyons cast against
a red sky. However, the same

with people cast out onto the
Martian surface is laughably ill

conceived. Their eyes are
popping out of their faces, and

they arrive while gasping for
air, as if the filmmakers simply

wanted to show off their skills
with makeup prosthetics and

computer imaging. In reality, if
science has anything to say,

they would instantly freeze
while the air was drawn out of

their lungs with the lack of air
pressure causing their bodies to

blow up like balloons until all
of the air and water in their

insides escaped into the near
vacuum. In short, they will

become freeze dried mummies.
Even more confusing is the idea

that melting the ice will
release oxygen, it will release

water but where does the air
come from? There is no mention

of splitting the water molecules
into hydrogen and oxygen. Most

importantly for the plot, quaids
existential transformation from

the cold amoral spy to a would
be saviour lacks foreshadowing.

We never know why he had to hide
his true identity from himself

rather than simply playing the
role without burying his real

memories. brutality and
sympathy. Overall, the film is

fun to watch, but it definitely
is not for children or the faint

of heart. It depicts extreme
violence, bloody corpses,

severed limbs and the use of
bystanders as human shields. The

language unashamedly employs
profanity at least once every

five minutes and the obligatory
female frontal nudity includes a

while meme with three breasts.
Pepsi must have paid well for

product placement considering
how often their products appear

on the screen. Beer is also
plentiful. The comic relief is

frequent and necessary to break
up the scenes of violence, which

would otherwise lose their shock
value. Benny the cab driver on

Mars manages to clown around
during some of the shootouts

allowing the audience to relax
and breathe a few times. You

will see so many violent scenes
that they will blend together in

your memory. The bad guy always
seems to miss while Quaid never

fails to kill his target. Even
though that might seem contrived

it makes sense by the end of the
film, co Hagen wants him alive.

The problem is that we only get
the thinnest explanation for why

ko Haven wants him alive. On a
personal note, Phil would have

enjoyed this film. While Total
Recall has little to do with the

story that he wrote. It does
explore themes running through

all of his stories and novels.
Mutants appear in many of Phil's

works, and Kobato the twin
embedded in his brother's torso

seems to jump right out of his
novel Dr. Blood Money. Number

one in his mind was empathy. The
single quality that more than

any other makes us human. Quaid
begins to care about the people

he meets and the people he
hasn't met. And that makes him

better than those who exploit
people for their own personal

gain, including his former self
before his true memories were

buried. In other words, his
character grows and changes

while he carries out his new
Mars mission. With every memory

that he recovers, he finds that
reality is not what he thought

it was, and he is not who he
thought he was. In fact, many

people and things turn out to be
quite different from what they

appear to be. The film also
reflects Phil's view that large

corporations use war to gather
wealth and power. If Phil were

here to watch this movie, you
would find much to love. Despite

the many gratuitous sexual and
violent scenes, historian novels

did not have car chases, and
shootouts to carry the reader

along. And Phil did not like
films that rely solely on

action. But Total Recall gives
us much more than action and

adventure. Companions audio
articles is a new series and

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Green, James Hoare, George Mole,
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