In 1966, the late Philip K Dick published the novelette ''We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.'' A movie based on the story will be released next year; this book is a novelization of the script and the original novel. The first half of the book follows the original plot closely, despite transforming the unremarkable protagonist Douglas Quail into a musclebound man of action. Frustrated with his life, Quail decides to purchase a memory of a two-week adventure on Mars because he can't afford the real thing. However, while under heavy sedation preparatory to the installation of the memory, Quail remembers that he actually was on Mars as an intelligence agent and killer. Now that he has recovered the memory which had been suppressed by his employers, his life is in jeopardy. Here the novel deviates from Dick's philosophical original, becoming a more pedestrian if exciting slam-bang chase thriller. Judged on its own terms, the book works and it's fun.
Douglas Quail's dreams are haunted by images of Mars--a place where he has never been--until his visit to a company that specializes in memory implants catapults him into a conspiracy that overturns the basic premise of his life. Based on the Philip K. Dick story, ''We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,'' this sf adventure (to be released as a movie in 1990) by one of the genre's most prolific and respected authors features fast-paced action and vivid imagery.