Analysis Of You Can Remember It For You Wholesale By Philip K. Dick

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Perhaps most of what is considered “science fiction” today do not deserve such a prestigious title. Rather, they should fall under the genre of space adventure, or one of the many fantasy genres. This is what Philip K. Dick argues in an essay titled My Definition of Science Fiction. He regards stories that simply take place in the future—typically in space—cannot automatically be considered science fiction even if they involve advanced technologies beyond our current understanding of the universe. Dick wrote his definition in 1981, and his claims do align with many of his written stories; We Can Remember It for You Wholesale is one such story. First published in 1966, it is universally considered science fiction and effectively serves as an example for what science fiction should be. In his definition, Philip K. Dick states that a science fiction story must be based on our current reality. It must use
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Initially, his existence is that of an ordinary clerk who has been ordinary his whole life. He then learns that he was a secret agent/assassin and is also the man currently saving Earth from an alien invasion. Quail is an example of someone who cannot be sure if “reality” really exists, or if it is just something in our heads. Having the memory of a trip to Mars would then actually be a “real” trip to Mars. This brings up the idea of Last Thursdayism which says that it is impossible to prove that the entire universe, including our memories, was not created last Thursday. These are the thought-provoking ideas that Dick says science fiction must do. It is important to ponder philosophical ideas in order to improve critical thinking and open our minds to new ideas. Questioning our reality is one of the human practices that most set us apart from other animals, and science fiction is an excellent facilitator of philosophical
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