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The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  795 ratings  ·  138 reviews
A journalist in the future explores the advantages and disadvantages of living with the wetware known as Remem. Remem monitors your conversation for references to past events, and then displays video of that event in the lower left corner of your field of vision. If you say “remember dancing the conga at that wedding?”, Remem will bring up the video. If the person you’re t ...more
ebook, 30 pages
Published October 2013 by Subterranean Press
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4.28  · 
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 ·  795 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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This was a thought-provoking short story. It is categorized as science-fiction, but really just in the sense that one thread of the story plants the reader at a point in the future. A future where technology has become so pervasive that perhaps you don't need to learn or remember much of anything at all. Sound a bit frightening and perhaps not too far off-track?! This is most definitely a relevant topic in our digital age. A separate narrative takes the reader to a point in the not-too-distant p ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Evelina | AvalinahsBooks by: people who are interested in psychology, the human condition or just pondering the complicated things that we make ourselves into
Truthful. Shocking. Philosophical. Did not expect it. I was actually quite skeptical about it up to The Twist (more than a half the story in). And then it just shocked me.

This short story will make you think about your own life and try to remember your own mistakes. Because it can all apply to you too. Nobody's exempt from this. And you never think about it. You don't even know what you might be hiding from yourself. Humans are very interesting, the way their personalities function. Is there ult
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I used to think my memory was reliable. Then I tried to apologize to my younger brother for an act that had bothered me for decades. It probably wasn't actually the worst thing I ever did to him, and I was young enough that it should have been forgivable but still it had nagged at me. I would have been 6 or 7 and he was two years younger. In my memory, I broke the living room window. I convinced him to take the blame, because at his age he wouldn't get in any trouble. I was right; he didn't. Bu
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017reads
It's short, simple and enjoyable story. I saw a comment that this reminds a tv series called "black mirror" and i completely agree with it. It's about all these new technologies contoling and taking over everyone's decisions in their hands. So when you think about it, it's truly marvelous and scary at the same time.

and you can read it online :
Tudor Vlad
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very similar to Black Mirror's "The Entire History of You", it uses the same concept of having a piece of technology implanted that records all your life, making it extremely easy to have access to every memory, unaltered. Ted Chiang takes a similar idea but what makes out of it is completely different, offering another view of how such technology would affect individuals.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Repost from my blog.

Summary:  What would a perfect memory mean for us and our culture? How changed literacy our subjectivity? A journalist explores the pros and cons of a Cyborgish memory enhancement gadget called Remem which lets you capture, search, and replay every instance of your liveblog. It would bring a change similar to reading and writing for our Western culture, so he writes the story of the savage folk of Tev who slowly learn the impact of written truth versus oral truth. He can't st
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Got to mull this to follow.

Mull it, I did, and I've written reviews for 800 page novels that were easier than this. This story is complicated, it is a tad frightening, and it is remarkably relevant. If you have ever wondered where technology is going and think it has become too invasive, you will find here your worst fears realized. What is remarkable is that you will, at the same time, get a different view of how useful or harmful this invasion can be.

It is a short story. I won't
4.5 stars. I think this was my favorite of all of the Hugo Award nominated stories of 2014 because it surprised me, and made me reconsider my preconceived ideas on the subject. As a person with moderate memory trouble I've already put a small amount of thought into this topic. Like some of the people in the story, I was stuck seeing things as I expected to, which is exactly what Chiang expected.

I also thought it was so simply effective because it took just that one element, the memory search an
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at human narrative told from the point of view of the future - and the past. The primary narrator is living in some unspecified future time and is examining fcurrent technology that allows everyone to keep a "lifelog"-a vlog that covers their entire lives, soon to start in infancy. A new technology has been developed-Remem-that allows people to search through their memories to verify what is true from what has been misremembered. The narrator discusses a poignant example vis a ...more
Gorab Jain
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, short-stories
Reading this author is always fun - lots of food for thought.
In this short story, the idea is around "Remem" - a camera embedded in your retina which creates a video log of your life. The comparison is done against a primeval society where writing (recording speech via symbols) came in as a new idea.
There is another layer of father-daughter relationship and how these technical advancements interfere with your emotional self and eventually your relations with each other.

So many ideas stuffed in a
A brilliant story about truth, weaved from two parallel plans, one about memories (true vs fabricated), the other about words (written vs spoken). Again Chiang manages to produce a brilliant piece. Not at all a light reading but well worthy of your time.

It can be read here:
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-book, sci-fi
Ted Chiang
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling
30 pages

Adults will start forgetting the memories of their childhood, or what Freud coined as childhood amnesia, since age 7 and even if they can remember a few things from their past, they cannot recall anything before they're three years old. I, myself, still remember my first memory when I was three years old as vivid as if it'd happened yesterday. The details are too embarrassing to be explained here, but it proves how unreliabl

Superbe writing and fascinating, thought provoking subject(s), masterfully rendered through an alternance between two plans and stories, which are somehow related, even if not directly connected.
I have NEVER raised the question of someone not knowing what a word is or how I could explain such a concept to someone - I always considered it an intrinsic concept.. The same with the fine line between righteousness and truth, or the one between a 'reliable' remembrance and the truth..

This just became
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tiv tribesmen, fathers with selective memories
This novelette was right up my alley - I have a great interest in the idea of writing and how it actually affects the mind, and Chiang does this here by juxtaposing two unconnected stories. The first is about a new technology, "Remem," a sort of futuristic cloud app that will allow everyone to call up memories of everything they have ever experienced, at any time. The author explores how this will affect people's entire life experiences when their memories are now subject to constant auditing, i ...more
Nancy Meservier
With The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling, Ted Chiang has hit one of my thematic sweet spots by writing a story about memory. The novelette is divided into two storylines. One tells about a reporter encountering, with much trepidation, a new type of technology that will basically replace out natural human memory. The second tells a historical account of a young man living in Tivland, encountering the written word for the first time. These two elements may sound different, but they're actually ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
"We don't normally think of it as such, but writing is a technology"

Plot 1:
Have you noticed when a child in your family is suffering from an issue, all what will occupy your mind is how to help that child! If you are a caring person you will do whatever it takes to find the solution.
In this short story; Nicole has a problem with spelling, but she can read the words so the father removes all kind of software’s and unnecessary materials and provides her a keyboard.
Plot 2:
Think before you talk.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Hugo novelette nominee. I have one more to read in this category but it will have to be very good to knock this book out of the top spot.

Not a story as such, it is written as an academic paper switching between the current time period and the 1940's when Tivland was discovered by the Europeans.

In the current time frame the author discusses the implications of a new type of software, Remem which is basically an advanced search engine for use in retrieving information from personal lifelogs. Lifel
Jeff Stockett
This story was sooooo good!

I'm very interested in the lifelogging movement. I follow it in blogs. I follow the various technology companies. I even own some lifelogging devices. The devices that exist today are nothing compared to the Remem device depicted in this story, but that's what makes it science fiction.

As a person who spends countless hours tagging photos and videos to make them searchable, the technology described in this book made me very excited. But, of course, as technology always
Althea Ann
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Almost more an essay than a story; this is Chiang's thoughtful response to those who bemoan the advent of new technologies, saying that the advent of the Internet and data storage means that we don't rely on our memories the way we used to.
Chiang posits a near-future analog of our scenario: a new technology called Remem which 'hyperlinks' recordings from our 'lifelogs' whenever we query it, or whenever an appropriate moment arises. The tech may mean that, with constant access to the 'truth' of o
Sean O'Hara
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely the story I'm putting at the top of my Hugo ballot. Both in terms of writing and having something to say, it blows away everything else nominated. The Voxxy and Torgesen stories seem like something a toddler scribbled on the wall by comparison.
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Chiang at his best.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
As it is always the case with Ted Chiang's stories, The Truth of Fact, the Truth of feeling is extremely interesting and fascinating. This story in particular explores the impact of memory enhancing technologies on our way of thinking and of living, and on our culture.
The story is written by a fictional journalist in the near future explores the advantages and disadvantages of living with the wetware known as Remem. Remem monitors your conversation for references to past events, and then displa
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read for free online here:
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ted Chiang's vision of the future is so realistic and filled with technical details you can almost feel as if you're living it in the first story which is like a documentary or editorial. His grasp of a backwards community that hasn't invented writing is also enjoyable and entirely human in the historic fiction of the second story. The book alternates between the two, adding more and more to the story and the characters, explaining how things work and how everything affects people. An underlying ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sciene-fiction
This novelette threw me off at first because it reads like an essay--which is essentially what it is, but it's merely another way to tell the PoV character's story. Technology has made perfect memory available to every human being via a product called Remem that not only records one's life, but you can instantly search for events and replay them. Had an argument with your wife and she swears you're wrong? Simply run a search and find out. In parallel, Chiang tells the story of Jijingi, a young m ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Oh Ted Chiang. I love your brain and I love your words and I love this story.

Chiang tells two stories. One, a man reflecting on the introduction of technology that seeks to/threatens to/offers to replace/supplement human memory, and what that means for human interactions and human development. He also reflects on technology that means people don't actually write any more: they dictate. The stuff about memory, and how we use and change and develop from our memories, I found immensely powerful an
Jul 21, 2014 rated it liked it
This short story is split into two parts. The first is written by a technology journalist musing on the impact of a new technology (focused around improving our recall of past events), the second is a story within his story showing the impact of a missionary in early 20th Century Asia as he tries to teach a local boy to read and write. I thought the second part of the story was better than the first, the part set in the future does have some interesting ideas about the potential impact of a plau ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give more stars! I read this because a friend in a Dystopian book club said this was the short story the episode The Entire History of You of Black Mirror was based on. tEHoY is not one of my favorite episodes, but that's not a bad thing since the worst episode in that series is better than many series best offerings.

This longish short story was terrific! It made me think even more than the episode did about how we all rewrite our own history and we are almost always the hero of
Luiz de Viveiros
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic short story by Ted Chiang. In this one, he explores the consequences of a future technology that would allow people to have perfect memory, by indexing and accessing videos taken of a person (in the future, everyone records everything, like Google Glass). But the real genius of the story is that it ties the criticisms to the new technology to what happened with the introduction of writing in previously illiterate societies. I specially appreciated his take on it, because I keep ...more
Shubham Pandey
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a simple and nice story about the idea of recorded moments serving as a replacement for memories, and in turn leading to a perfect recall, very similar to the black mirror episode of 'the entire history of you'.

The story goes on to follow arguments for and against a perfect memory, similar to his story ‘Liking what you see’ which does the same for lookism. His writing is plain and simple most of the times, but the way he simplifies and condenses complex ideas eloquently is what impresses me
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Ted Chiang is an American speculative fiction writer. His Chinese name is Chiang Feng-nan. He graduated from Brown University with a Computer Science degree. He currently works as a technical writer in the software industry and resides in Bellevue, near Seattle, Washington. He is a graduate of the noted Clarion Writers Workshop (1989).

Although not a prolific author, having published only eleven sh
“People are made of stories. Our memories are not the impartial accumulation of every second we’ve lived; they’re the narrative that we assembled out of selected moments.” 22 likes
“We don’t normally think of it as such, but writing is a technology, which means that a literate person is someone whose thought processes are technologically mediated. We became cognitive cyborgs as soon as we became fluent readers, and the consequences of that were profound.” 5 likes
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