Total Recall was a 1990 movie directed by Paul Verhoeven and based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale“. The short story follows a man named Douglas Quail who learns that he’s had two past lives not through reincarnation but due to altered memories.

The movie that followed changed Quail’s last name to Quaid and was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. (A remake came out in 2012 but I haven’t seen it.) The screenplay by Donald Shusette, Dan O’Bannon, and Gary Goldman (with Jon Povill taking O’Bannon’s place for the full story) was adapted into a book by Avon Books with Piers Anthony as the writer. Most adaptations are based on earlier scripts, so lines are changed and scenes are added or removed. Sometimes scenes are added to fill out the book. A novel has different needs and skills from a movie. (There were also other adaptations; a comic by DC Comics and a few video games. I own the comic and the Interplay-produced NES game.) One thing Anthony did was expand on the origins of the alien machine at the heart of the story.

I’ve already reviewed the chapters one at a time as part of my other site’s “Chapter By Chapter” series. This is a round-up review and a decision of the book’s future in my collection.

Total RecallTotal Recall adaptation

Avon Books (June, 1990 (first printing)

AUTHOR: Piers Anthony