Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Memory” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  321 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Acclaimed hard-SF author Linda Nagata introduces a new world, where the sky is bisected by an arch of light, and the mysterious "silver" rises from the ground each night to completely transform the landscape--and erase from existence anything it touches.

Young Jubilee is devastated when her brother Jolly is taken by the silver. But when a forbidding stranger with the power
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Tom Doherty Associates (first published 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Memory, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Memory

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sarah Anne
Nov 29, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, author-woman
This book had such a complex world that I was not only fascinated but I never really knew what was coming.

But if a child should ask, What is the silver?the answer might take many forms:

"It is a fog of glowing particles that arises at night to rebuild the world."
"It is the memory of the world."
"It is the dreaming mind of the wounded goddess and you must never go near her!"

The silver in this book is entirely different from what we would call silver. Silver rises at night to varying levels and it
Rachel Brown
Jubilee lives in a strikingly bizarre world, in which silver mist arises from the earth to kill living beings, remake non-living matter, and bring random buildings and even entire empty cities back from the past. Because the “silver” tends to destroy written records, the people are very vague and confused about their history, though they have a high degree of poorly-understood technology. They also have some extremely odd customs regarding sex and love – people can only marry (or, apparently, ha ...more
Micah Sisk
Dec 10, 2015 Micah Sisk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I've read by Linda Nagata (purchased in a book bundle) and it's very impressive. It's a real sleeper, a book that deserves far more attention and awareness than it has/gets.

Memory is a top notch effort of creative world design. Original and logically consistent, it successfully merges fantastical ideas with just enough science to make the fantasy-like elements seem rooted in the real world--without any technological geek-outs to bore those disinterested in hard science.

Bryan Alexander
Mar 18, 2017 Bryan Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I've long thought Linda Nagata a hidden gem in modern sf. Her first novels delighted me, especially the inventive Vast.

Memory is a fine example of Nagata's skills. It offers rich and surprising world-building along with empathetic and fiercely challenged characters. It's accessible yet never easy, and ultimately moving and memorable.

The plot - well, without spoilers, I can say that it involves a quest to understand a peculiar world. Our heroine is born on a ringworld of sorts, where a terrifying
Justin Howe
Aug 01, 2013 Justin Howe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know I'll probably bump this down to 4-stars after the rush of reading it fades, but until then holy crap was this a great book!

Young Jubilee lives in a world where floods of "silver" (malfunctioning nanotech) reshape the world every night. Stability can only be found on hill top settlements. When a silver flood claims her brother, she assumes he is lost forever, but then, seven years later, a stranger arrives searching for him.

If you like your SF to take you to strange and weird worlds, t
Aug 11, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing keeping me from choosing 4 instead of a 3 was the ending--too abrupt, even with a short epilogue. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The concept of the silver is what intrigued me to pick this up used at a March of Dimes fundraiser and I was happily surprised by how quickly it sucked me in.

The world Jubilee lives in is inhabited by human-like "players" who share their ring-shaped world with a strange substance called "silver" which some believe to be the leftover remnants of
Lisa Grabenstetter
Feb 01, 2011 Lisa Grabenstetter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
In the end, the big reveal was perhaps a little less revealing than I would've liked. But again, it worked plot-wise, and it probably would've seemed extremely forced to reveal everything—there's no way the characters would have understood any of it, their paradigm is so much different, and there are a number of things I feel I can safely infer from my standpoint that the main character has no basis for. It's essentially an SF secret to a fantasy world, which I can certainly appreciate.

The cove
Summary: Interesting characters and the plot moves on pretty well I just found the premise a bit too peculiar, it's central to the story but just never quite worked for me.

Plotline: Moves a long nicely with some interesting diversions

Premise: A bit weird and not really thought through

Writing: Good, great characterisations

Ending: Oh yes

Pace: Never a dull moment!
Adrian Howard
Mar 06, 2017 Adrian Howard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a bunch of Linda Nagata's stuff last year, but this one from 2004 somehow escaped me. A really rather fun tale with a science fictional setting, but told with many of the fantasy tropes. Warring "gods", the traditional fantasy quest, a coming of age, but set on an (obvious to the reader if not the protagonists) nanotech created artificial habitat. Recommended.
The author lets the story and the worldbuilding tell itself. No long expositions. The characters are interesting and the world is unique. However there were parts that were confusing and I found I didn't care enough to go back to try to understand.
Keizen Li Qian
May 25, 2017 Keizen Li Qian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tasteful scifi styling in a fantasy novel. Understated worldbuilding, fascinating tech made spicy with issues of destiny and matchmaking.
D.F. Haley
Currently stalled on this. I want to like this more than I do. I'm finding it hard to care much about the characters. Here, life and death just sort-of happen. Characters get reincarnated, or duplicated. most of the action is conceptual, rather than actual. protagonists are "players" not really people, and they don't seem to have much depth. Life long love and marriage are pre-ordained. A long exploration of free will vs destiny. I find the characters likeable enough, butt lacking passion. Most ...more
I bought this novel after being completely entranced after reading the first three chapters in an anthology / collection called 'Infinities'. Sadly, the book did not live up to those first three chapters.

The story opens with a 10 year old Jubilee (the protagonist), losing her younger brother (Jolly) to the mysterious 'Silver'. As the book says: “... the silver could both dissolve away the structures of our civilization, and build them anew, it acted always as an impersonal force, never seeming a
Jun 12, 2014 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On Jubilee's world, there is the silver, that rises on some nights over the land, covering everything not specially protected. For structures and tools, the silver sometimes leaves them alone, sometimes wipes them away, and sometimes returns buildings or items from the distant past. For living things, though, being swallowed by the silver is a death sentence. Jubilee's brother Jolly was taken by the silver as a youth, in front of her eyes. Years later, she meets somebody who can survive the silv ...more
James Kemp
I very much enjoyed this and there is a real sense of both the characters and the setting developing over the course of the story. The back cover blurb describes it thus:

"A quest, a puzzle, and multiple lives: On an artificial world with a forgotten past, floods of "silver" rise in the night like fog, rewriting the landscape and consuming those caught in its cold mists. Seventeen-year-old Jubilee knows that no one ever returns from the silver--but then a forbidding stranger appears, asking after
Charity Bradford
This is the first book I ever read by Linda Nagata years ago. Since then I've read several her her novels. I love her unique look at worlds and the relationships we have in them.

Memory is about a world with a finite number of inhabitants. These people live, die and are reborn over and over. They don't remember those past lives, but their talents return.

Here's the thing. These people have only one lover. It's genetic and even if they fall in love with another they can't even kiss them. The mingl
Sep 21, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Jubilee is a rambunctious child in a dangerous world, but her childhood is cut short when her brother, Jolly, is taken by the silver. The silver is by nature unpredictable. Sometimes it creates, sometimes it destroys, but it is always deadly to the players it touches. That's why she's so disturbed when, just before being taken, her brother tells her that he called the silver. Years later, a stranger appears out of the silver looking for Jolly. But no one can survive in the silver, and Jolly was ...more
Jun 05, 2008 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scifi, Fantasy, MMORPG fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Trembling
Jan 27, 2016 Paul Trembling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across this SF novel through a free Kindle collection ('Infinities'), and the short extract immediately caught my attention and my imagination.

Some science fiction reads like contemporary fiction, with starships. The advanced technology seems to make little difference to the characters or to their culture. Such writing might still be good, but it doesn't make the best use of the genre.

'Memory' does not fall into that category. Linda Nagata has created a world and a people that is both ver
Lia /|\
Oct 28, 2007 Lia /|\ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, owned
This splendid tale - a mix of fantasy and science fiction - is the first I've read by Nagata. I will certainly be seeking out more of her work. An alien, yet recognizably human humanity is at play within this story. Whether or not Earth is in the distant past of this society is not mentioned, so it may be a far-future tale, or merely an alien one. It hardly matters. Aside from the drama of emotion, morals, & memory, the technology that is obviously left over from the beginnings of the world ...more
Peter Tillman
OK, the world-building is pretty cool. The setting is a ringworld-orbital where things have gone Terribly Wrong. A long-ago war damaged the habitat, and the construction and maintenance nanoassembler-fogs (the silver), have become a menace to the players, their 'mechanics' (cool hi-tech machines) and their homes. The only safe places to live are temple-complexes around kobold wells -- the temple kobolds, small programmable mechanics, exude a sweet-smelling silver-repellent.

It's a pretty neat set
Sep 20, 2016 Naomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of Linda Nagata when I received this book as a present, long after it was published. It is one of the few fantasy books that I can reread many times. The exceeding strangeness of this world, with its deadly silver mists destroying and rebuilding the landscape, the strange relations between men and women and the fragile trading economy, caught my imagination. The plot elements hinting at the true nature of the world seem incongruous against the fully realized world and believabl ...more
Stanley Townsend
A wonderful feat of imagination.
Mathew Walls
When I was a teenager I'd read whatever sci-fi or fantasy I could find at the library, so long as it wasn't the middle of a series they only had part of, so I've read plenty of books where every other noun is a made-up word or a normal word used to mean something totally different to its real definition, but I just don't have the patience for that kind of bullshit any more. This book isn't the worst example of that, but if I get to the end of the first chapter and don't understand the basics of ...more
I really enjoyed reading Memory. The only reason I didn't give the book 5 stars were a few chapters during the characters' journey that were a bit underwhelming compared to the rest of the book.

The world of Memory is incredibly well-made. Reading the book, you'll definitely come up with lots of theories regarding the SF (science fiction) base of the world, and I just loved this combination of SF with a fantasy book feel.

I also found the characters really interesting. I've heard some complaints
Jun 07, 2016 Miki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
A brilliant novel between sci-fi and fantasy, set in a mysterious world whose inhabitants, the "players", have to fight against the menace of ever more spreading "silver", erasing places and people as if on its own will. Each player live their own lives again and again, each time in the attempt to regain important memories and skills from their past and to make wiser choices. The main characters are key to radical, important changes for the whole planet. A novel with original, fascinating world- ...more
Paul Hancock
Aug 28, 2015 Paul Hancock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, storybundle
This little gem was included in a collection that was sold as being sci-fi. It's kinda-sorta sci-fi, but genres don't really matter when you enjoy the book.

This book tells a strange and interesting story of Jubilee and her journey around a ring-like world. She battles against memories of past lives, runs from the dangers of a strange silver mist that holds the memories of the world, and discovers wild truths about the world.

I was a little confused about the end of the book, but I enjoyed the res
Lizzie Newell
Memory tells of a world where a deadly silver fog arises at night to dissolve structures and leave strange architectural follies behind. The story unfolds as a young woman, Jubilee attempts to find her brother who has been taken by the silver fog. The story gets a little bit slow in the middle as Jubilee is traveling but it picks up again with some wonderful twists and I was left wanting more. What a marvelous story!
Jubilee's life changes when her brother, Jolly, is taken by the "silver" which is the memory of the world and the creative force that both sustains and destroys. Jubilee must contend with a rogue player who can control the silver and with the gods who created the world and prevent it from reaching its potential.
It was somewhat unnecessarily repetitive and I don't know how I feel about that whole "one lover for each person throughout all lifetimes" thing, but it was intriguing and eerie and had a lovely sense of wonder to it, and I really enjoyed it. A little mystified as to why it keeps getting referred to as hard SF in the blurbs, though - as far as my interpretation goes, it was science fantasy.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Forgotten Suns
  • The Phoenix Code
  • Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian
  • Starfarers
  • Near + Far
  • Crossfire (Crossfire, #1)
  • Strong Arm Tactics (Wolfe Pack Book 1)
  • Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures
  • Star Dragon
  • An Exchange of Hostages (Jurisdiction, #1)
  • Five Days In January (The Felix Chronicles, #2)
  • The Poison Master
  • The Truth (Area 51, #7)
  • Rivers of London: Body Work
  • Natural History
  • Nekropolis
  • Beyond Apollo
  • The Summer Isles
I'm a writer from Hawaii best known for my high-tech science fiction, including the Red trilogy, a series of near-future military thrillers. The first book in the trilogy, The Red: First Light, was a Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial-award finalist, and named as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2015. My newest novel is the very near-future thriller, The Last Good Man , due out in June 2017.

More about Linda Nagata...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »