The title is a reference to the 1962 Broadway musical and
1937 novel, I Can Get It
for You Wholesale.
In the short story, the protagonist is named Douglas
Quail rather than Quaid as in the film. It may be
because the U.S. Vice-President at the time was Dan Quayle
and the writers and producers may have felt Doug Quail was
too similar a name.
Quail is a clerk, not a construction worker as in the film.
Most likely the producers did not think an audience would buy
Arnold Schwarzenegger as a mousy clerk.
Quail's wife is named Kirsten, not Lori as in the film. And
she seems to be his real wife, not just playing a part to
help cover up his memory-wiped past.
At breakfast, Quail inhales a Bean Nash mixture of Dean
Swift snuff. Dean Swift is a real world producer of tobacco
snuff. I am unaware of a Bean Nash mixture.
When his wife accuses him of having dreamed of a woman,
Quail says, "No. A god. The god of war." This is a
roundabout way of saying he was dreaming of Mars; Mars was
the Roman god of war for whom the planet was named.
Kirsten suggests she and Doug take a vacation to an aquatic
resort at the bottom of the ocean. In the film, this was used as one of
the dream vacations in the
Rekall TV ad seen by Quaid.
In this story, the memory implantation company is called
Rekal instead of Rekall as in the film.
In this story, Quail lives in Chicago. The city is described
as existing in Cook County, which is true. The film on the
other hand, never
reveals what city Quaid lives in.
In this story, the female secretary at Rekal is
bare-bosomed, apparently a socially acceptable practice in
the future! In the film, she is fully-clothed, though in the
novelization she is described as wearing a
variable transparency blouse, which allows it to be
transparent under certain lighting conditions from certain
angles. Here in the short story, however, her breasts are
not their natural color! They are first blue and then, on
Quail's third visit to the Rekal offices, orange. This
color-change was probably the inspiration for her
fingernail-color-changing stylus in the film.
The Rekal owner is named McClane as he is in the film. He
also wears a gray, Martian frog-pelt suit as he does in the
novelization, though here the frogs are described as actually native to
Mars, not just Earth species raised on Mars. Later in the story, Mars is also described as having
gray-brown cacti and maw-worms.
Having written the story before we knew the lifelessness of
the planet, Dick felt comfortable elaborating on the
possible life to be found there.
Quail muses that the Rekal package costs almost as much as
actually going to Mars. So why doesn't he?
McClane tells Quail that he won't remember having been to
Rekal after the Mars memory implantation.
Quail purchases the Mars Rekal package with the "secret
agent of Interplan" option. The name Interplan is probably a
play on the modern name of the International Criminal Police
Organization, Interpol. In this case, Interplan probably
stands for "interplanetary". In the film and novelization,
the Agency is never named.
Part of the kit of items Quail will receive from Rekal as "proof" of his
visit to Mars will be "several quotations from John Donne's
sermons". John Donne was a 17th Century English poet,
satirist, and priest who wrote a number of famous sermons.
The sermons, of course, have nothing to do with Mars, but
serve as souvenirs implying a learning experience of sorts
that took place during the vacation.
Another part of the kit is a stainless steel spoon engraved
with the words PROPERTY OF DOME-MARS NATIONAL KIBBUZIM. I
think "kibbuzim" is just an alternate spelling of
"kibbutzim", a communal work collective.
Quail is put under sedation for the memory implant procedure
This appears to be a fictional drug. Author Piers Anthony
borrows the term for the novelization of
When he finds his memory implant is only partially
successful, Quail threatens to take it up with the Better
Business Bureau. The
Better Business Bureau is an organization of local
franchises across the U.S. and Canada meant to promote
business and alert consumers and businesses to frauds. The
BBB, however, is a private corporation in itself and has, at
times, come under criticism for alleged bias and selling of
When he gets home, Quail decides to type out a letter of
complaint about Rekal to the Better Business Bureau, sitting
himself down in front of his Hermes Rocket portable. Hermes
was a real world maker of typewriters from 1935-1981.
The Interplan agents reveal to Quail that they have a
telepathic transmitter planted in his skull; a living plasma
that had been discovered on the Moon, which transmits his
thoughts to others wearing a special receiving device in
their ear. One of the agents ironically warns Quail,
"Anything you think may be held against you."
Quail recalls reading about the tele-transmitters in the
homeopapes. "Homeopape" is short for "homeostatic newspaper"
a term invented by Dick for a newspaper produced by machine
without direct human assistance; a person merely tells the
device what topics he is interested in and it prints out
up-to-the-minute news on the subject. Not much different from
Google search! Dick used the term in a number of
Quail comments that the two agents chasing him are armed
with sneaky-pete guns. I can find no real world references
to a sneaky-pete gun. Possibly it is meant to describe a
hidden or disguised gun similar to a sneaky-pete pool cue, a
professional two-piece pool cue used by hustlers and
designed to look like a cheap house cue.
A semi-bird called a pert is said to have been imported to
Earth from Mars' two moons.
When Quail agrees to turn himself in to Interplan, they tell
him to go to their main barracks at 580 Fifth Avenue, New
York. In the real world, this is the address of the
Institute of America.
Back to Total Recall Episode