Total Recall was heavily inspired by “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”, a short story by Philip K. Dick published in 1966. The first half of the movie and story are almost identical, but the plot lines later diverge. The book had a heavy focus on questioning reality and the fickleness of memory, showing how technology could potentially blur the line between what is real and what isn’t.
The book, and hence the movie, pose the age-old question of the nature of reality. The Rekall devices severely blur the line between reality and fiction, showing how subjective and easily alterable the individual experience is.