In light of this pitiless way of looking at things, Melissa Carroll has earned something few of us have: peace. She has been given little -- or rather, has had much taken from her -- and instead of despairing, she has made everything out of nothing.
The Truman Show was the 1998 movie in which Jim Carrey slowly realizes that his entire life is a televised illusion. Welcome to The Truman Show economy. Much of what we hear nowadays hides a grim reality -- not just from our leaders, but from us.
Not so long ago -- as late as 1988, in fact -- we had a prophet walking among us. His name was William Gibson, and in his breathtaking Sprawl trilogy, he forecast the near future of technology and its social and cultural uses and impacts.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had leaders who made choices based not upon a secret code of ideology or moral principle -- on a faith that provides their guidance system -- but upon the actual conditions of an issue as it expresses itself?
For his part, director Paul Verhoeven joyously showcases ultra-violence in Total Recall, sticking it in the audience's face. Indeed, the entire milieu of the film is as downbeat as it is shot through with glee.
What is reality? What is identity? How long can a soul survive when one's perceptions and one's self are subject to electronic editing at a moment's whim? These and many other fascinating questions are raised and almost immediately dropped in Total Recall.
It is true that a new cinematic adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1966 short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" has arrived -- and it's a sleek, radical departure from Paul Verhoeven's gonzo 1990 version.
Being a pulp fiction writer is hard: living from royalty check to royalty check, typing as fast as you can to stay ahead of the landlord, popping psychotropic pills to keep the creative juices flowing.