In Total Recall (1990):

a man goes in to have virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars implanted in his mind

In Space Cobra (1982-1983):

The space-pirate Cobra (the man with the Psychogun in his left arm) is hunted by the police and mysterious guild. He changes his appearance and deletes his memory, but 5 years later his memory returns

And in Blade Runner (1982):

A fifth replicant: Rachael, who works as Tyrell's assistant is the subject of Dr. Elden Tyrell experimenting with her, to provide her with fake memories so as to be able to better control her

Which was the first sci fi story featuring memory implantation?

  • 5
    Just to be clear, you're asking about false memories, yes? Your second example seems to be more like memory erasure, which feels different to me (and the river Lethe dates back to Greek mythology).
    – DavidW
    Jan 31, 2021 at 15:02
  • May be the quote I chose wasnt the best, because if I recall correctly he had a new life implanted just like in Total Recall. I actually found both stories to be similar in that sense
    – Pablo
    Jan 31, 2021 at 15:03
  • 5
    Total Recall was written in 1966 (by Phillip K. Dick "We can Remember it for you Wholesale"). He also wrote Blade Runner ("Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep") two years later. Feb 1, 2021 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


The Science Fiction Encyclopedia page for Memory Edit suggests "The Memory Clearing House" (1892) by Israel Zangwill.

featuring both removal of one's own memories and "borrowing" of memories recorded from others via a quasi-scientific Invention: "the noemagraph, or thought-writer. The impression is received on a sensitized plate which acts as a medium between the two minds."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.