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Russians Enjoy 'Total Recall'-Style Fake Vacations

Persey Tours, a travel agency in Moscow, was a failure at offering real tours. It has achieved success in recent months, however, by offering fake vacations instead.

For just 13,460 rubles (about $500 in American currency), Persey Tours will sell you all of the stuff you would expect to have after your exotic vacation: faked ticket stubs, hotel receipts and even photos with your picture professionally superimposed on exotic landmarks.

Just give Dmitry a call; he even faked a trip to the moon for $2,000 - the fake trip of a lifetime for a Siberian gas station owner who wanted to fly to the moon on Russian space craft.

Science fiction fans will recognize this capitalist impulse - it comes straight from the 1990 film Total Recall, which was taken from the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.


(Just relax - it's only a fake vacation)

In the story, an ordinary guy wants to take a vacation courtesy of Rekal, Incorporated. At Rekal, it starts in exactly the same way: providing the "vacationer" with relics of his trip:

"You'll get tangible proof of your trip," McClane disagreed emphatically. "All the proof you'll need. Here; I'll show you... "Ticket stub... it proves you went - and returned... Postcards... Film. Shots you took of local sights on Mars with a rented moving camera... two hundred poscreds worth of souvenirs..."
It wouldn't be a Philip K. Dick story if they didn't mess with your head. At Rekal, they also implant the memories of a great vacation:

"Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?" Quail asked.

"More than the real thing, sir...our analysis of true-mem systems - authentic recollections of major events in a person's life - shows that a variety of details are very quickly lost..."
(Read more about Philip K. Dick's extra-factual memories)

Let's hope Persey Tours doesn't hear about this idea; it turns out that implanting false memories is actually possible. Northwestern University researchers found the area of the brain where it happens; read more about how Northwestern Researchers Can Remember It For You Wholesale.

Fortunately, though, Harvard researchers have been working on a way to distinguish memories of real events from "memories" of events that haven't actually happened: read more about the New Technique That Detects False Memories.

This has been a good week for Phil Dick fans; he is back in the news this week for the movie A Scanner Darkly, taken from his 1977 story of the same name.

Original story here.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/24/2006)

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