Piers Anthony: Total Recall

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Piers Anthony Total Recall
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    Total Recall
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Total Recall: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

Предлагаем к чтению аннотацию, описание, краткое содержание или предисловие (зависит от того, что написал сам автор книги «Total Recall»). Если вы не нашли необходимую информацию о книге — напишите в комментариях, мы постараемся отыскать её.

A novelization of a 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone, in its turn based on Philip K. Dick 1966 novelette “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Frustrated with his life, Duglas 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.

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Total Recall

by Piers Anthony



Two moons hung in the dark red sky. One was full, the other crescent. One seemed to be four times the diameter of the other, and neither was exactly round. In fact, both might better have been described as egglike: a chicken egg and a robin egg. Perhaps even potatolike, large and small.

The big one was Phobos, named after the personification of fear: the type that possessed armies and caused their defeat. The small one was Deimos, the personification of terror. This was appropriate, for these were the companions of the ancient Roman god of war and agriculture, Mars.

The landscape of Mars was ugly. As far as the horizon, which was closer than it would have been on Earth, there were barren rock formations, overhanging ledges, and dust. There might have been a war here, fracturing the terrain, but there was obviously no agriculture. This was no-man’s-land in the truest sense.

Douglas Quaid stood on the jaggedly sloping surface. He wore a lightweight space suit with breathing apparatus, for the atmospheric pressure here was only a hundred and fiftieth that of Earth at ground level, and the temperature was about a hundred degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. There would have been arctic snow, if the scant air had had enough water vapor to form it. Any failure of his suit, any little tear on the edge of one of the rocks, would finish him just about as quickly as it would in deep space. About the only thing Mars had going for it that the vacuum of space didn’t was gravity: slightly better than a third of Earth’s. At least it provided some notion of what was up and what was down, and made it possible to walk.

Quaid hardly needed low gravity to help him walk. He was a massive man, so muscular that even the space suit could not hide his physique. He seemed to exude raw power. His chiseled features within the helmet were set, reflecting his indomitable will. It was obvious that he was here by no accident. He had a mission, and not even the hell that was this planet would balk him for long.

He scanned the horizon. As he turned, the jumbled terrain changed, until it reared up into the most phenomenal mountain known in the Solar System: Olympus Mons, ten miles above the point where he stood. In its totality, it was closer to fifteen miles, more than triple the height of Earth’s largest, Mauna Loa of Hawaii, most of whose mass was hidden beneath the Pacific Ocean. Like that one, this was volcanic, but on a scale unknown on Earth. The base of its cone was some 350 miles in diameter, with radially spreading lava flows now frozen in place. A mighty scarp over two miles high ringed its base, defining it strangely but clearly. Olympus Mons was a wonder to make even a man like Quaid pause in admiration.

There was a sound behind him, audible more as vibration in the rock than as any wave in the trace atmosphere. Someone was approaching: a woman. Quaid turned as if expecting her, unsurprised, and gazed at her with appreciation. She was worth it: she was as well formed for her sex as he was for his, voluptuous within her space suit. Behind her visor her hair showed brown, and her eyes were great and dark. She gazed back at him, and her posture suggested her interest: if she was not in love with him, she was getting there.

But this was hardly the place for romance! The suits would have made anything significant impossible, even if they had it in mind. This was business.

She turned and walked toward a pyramid-shaped mountain he hadn’t looked at before. Hardly on the scale of Olympus Mons, it remained big enough to be impressive. It seemed almost artificial in its symmetry. How had such a curious feature come to be on Mars? Well, it was no bigger a mystery than the human faces sculpted in other rocks, or the many little alien artifacts scattered about, evidence that man had not been the first here.

Quaid followed, regretting that only her helmet was translucent. Even so, it was a pleasure to watch her walk. She led him to a tortured opening in the side of the mountain, evidently a fault that had sprung during one of the eruptions. It was a cave whose walls were sheer. Just enough light filtered in through crevices to enable them to find secure footing as the passage wound into the mountain.

They came to a ledge deep inside. They were in a roughly circular chamber of considerable size. No, it was a depression, a hole; the sky of Mars showed above. Its floor was a pit so deep that it seemed to have no bottom. Quaid’s eyes, adapting to the deep shade at this level, made out only the curving rim and the cylindrical rise of the rock above. Was this a natural cavity or a chamber hewn by man? It had aspects of both, and neither. He felt an awe of it that related only partly to its size and mystery. Somehow he knew that the significance of the place transcended anything any ordinary man or woman might compass, and that what the two of them did here was more important than anyone on Earth could guess.

The woman walked to the right. She reached down and drew out a slender cable. It seemed to be anchored to a large rock or projection from the wall. She backed away, hauling on the cable, and it extended. She turned, and Quaid saw that the end she held was connected to an apparatus somewhat like a fishing reel mounted on a solid belt.

She brought this belt to him and stretched out its ends. She bent to reach around his waist, wrapping the belt until it snapped together behind him. Now the reel was in front, and he was tied to the rock.

Quaid tested it himself, stepping back and watching the cable pay out. It was coiled within the reel, flattening there but becoming round as it reached toward the rock anchor. There was actually a considerable length of it, but it weighed only a few pounds.

He put his two gloved hands on the cable and pulled them apart. The cable held. He increased the pull, his muscles showing. Still it held. He gestured to the woman, and she approached. He formed a loop in the cable and signaled that she should sit in it. Awkwardly, she did, holding on to the top to maintain her balance. Quaid lifted his arm and drew her readily into the air. Of course, she weighed only forty-five pounds in the Mars gravity, but it was obvious that he could have lifted her full weight almost as easily. She smiled.

He let her down, smiling also. The cable would do.

They grasped their clumsy suited hands, bidding each other farewell. They embraced, touching visors, unable to kiss. If there was one thing he really hated about a space suit…!

Quaid let her go and stepped to the edge of the rim. He put his hands on it, then swung his legs over and down in a maneuver that would have been difficult in Earth gravity. He gripped the cable, facing toward the wall, and lowered himself into the dark chasm, hand under hand.

A lesser man would have rappelled, passing the cable under his left thigh and over his right shoulder, using a double line that he allowed to lengthen slowly for the descent. Quaid didn’t bother; he simply handed himself down almost as if on a ladder. His feet jumped down the wall a yard at a time, keeping him away from it. Child’s play!

He paused a few yards down, looking up. The woman leaned over the rim. The upper portion of her body showed in silhouette, her head seeming to be lighted because of the translucence of the helmet. She looked like an angel on a painted ceiling. The full moon Phobos floated above her head, completing the halo.

She put her hand to her helmet, then flung it out, blowing him a kiss.

Quaid felt a surge of emotion. God, she was beautiful!

But he had business. He waved back, then resumed his downward progress. He realized that he didn’t have to use his hands; the reel could be set to pay out the cable at a steady rate. He adjusted it and let go.

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