The Memory of Mars

Does this story sound familiar?

A man on Earth discovers that his memories have been altered, his wife isn’t who she appeared to be, and he’s embroiled in a vast conspiracy involving Mars and aliens.

It’s the 1990 movie Total Recall, loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1966 short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”

It’s also the 1961 short story “The Memory of Mars” by LDS science fiction author Raymond F. Jones.  Jones is best remembered as the author of the novel This Island Earth, on which the eponymous movie was based.  He was the first LDS author to get a Hugo Award nomination, back in 1967 for his short story “Rat Race.”  His career as a writer spanned the early 1940s to the late 1970s.  I don’t recall having read anything of his when I was young, so I thought it would be interesting to read something from an LDS science fiction author who wrote in BC (Before Card) times.

If the makers of Total Recall had chosen Jones’s story instead of Dick’s on which to loosely base their movie on “The Memory of Mars,” Arnold Schwarzenegger would have discovered that Sharon Stone was actually some sort of non-human being that had replaced his real wife.  In trying to figure out what happened to his wife, he would have discovered that they had traveled to Mars together and he has no memory of the trip, so he would go to someone to recover his memories.  And that would put him on the trail of the conspiracy that’s manipulating him and thousands of others.

I found the story, which is available in a free Kindle edition, to be a good read, with some plot twists I didn’t see coming.  Overall, though, I must admit I prefer Dick’s story, which has a plot (quite different from the movie’s) that I still remember decades after reading it.

Is there anything particularly Mormon about “The Memory of Mars”?  Nothing really stood out to me as such — but perhaps my memory of such details has been wiped, so maybe you should check the story out for yourself.

About Eric James Stone

A Nebula Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, and winner in the Writers of the Future Contest, Eric James Stone has had stories published in Year’s Best SF 15, Analog, Nature, and Kevin J. Anderson’s Blood Lite anthologies of humorous horror, among other venues. One of Eric’s earliest memories is of seeing an Apollo moon-shot launch on television. That might explain his fascination with space travel. His father’s collection of old science fiction ensured that Eric grew up on a full diet of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. While getting his political science degree at Brigham Young University, Eric took creative writing classes. He wrote several short stories, and even submitted one for publication, but after it was rejected he gave up on creative writing for a decade. During those years Eric graduated from Baylor Law School, worked on a congressional campaign, and took a job in Washington, DC, with one of those special interest groups politicians always complain that other politicians are influenced by. He quit the political scene in 1999 to work as a web developer in Utah. In 2002 he started writing fiction again, and in 2003 he attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. In 2007 Eric got laid off from his day job just in time to go to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He has since found a new web development job. In 2009 Eric became an assistant editor for Intergalactic Medicine Show. Eric lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
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3 Responses to The Memory of Mars

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    Thanks for making us aware of this!

  2. Lee Allred says:

    A couple short autobiographical sketches by Jones about himself can be found over on the Raymond F. Jones tribute site:

  3. Marny says:

    A short story of Jones’s that has more Mormon content is “The Lions of Rome” in Flame Tree Planet: An Anthology of Religious Science-Fantasy (1973).

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