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The Weight of Memories

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  685 ratings  ·  94 reviews
From the author of The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death's End comes a story about unborn memories.

With The Three-Body Problem, English-speaking listeners got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and bestselling Three-Body Trilogy by China's most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu.

The Weight of Memories is a Original
ebook, 17 pages
Published August 17th 2016 by Tor Books (first published January 2010)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Fetus: She asked you, “If you could be born again, where would you rather be born?”

Mother: I answered, “Here, of course! I want to be born in a big city and live a city dweller’s life.”

Fetus: Dr. Ying stared at you for some time and smiled. It was a smile that you didn’t fully understand. Then she said, “If you’re brave, I can make your dream come true.”

review to come.

read it for yourself here:
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A free story on

The idea is great. For science fiction fans that seeking novel ideas in stories, this is an easy 4 star. It is the execution that has problem with dry dialogues after a strong start.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A very short story with a very unexpected twist towards the ending. In this short story, Liu Cixin explores memories, instincts and gives his own answer to a question why babies are born without any of them. Though sometimes a bit naive, sentimental and superficial, this short story still provides some interesting facts about memories and their nature and how selective memories helps people to remain sane.
Jenny Baker
This was weird, touching, and twisty all at the same time. It really gets your brain thinking about bigger stuff.

This story is mostly a conversation between a doctor, mother, and fetus. I love the concept that instincts are inherited memories and evolution shut off the activation of it. I love geeky science stuff. Intriguing. I wasn't expecting the twist towards the end. I won't spoil the twist for anyone, but the twist reminds me of the arguments that I used to get into with people when I was
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-story, free, 2018
An interesting story that lets your mind wonder about life and science. I enjoyed this very much. However, I did not enjoy how it was written.
Good thing we do not get to inherit the memories of our predecessors...
A terrifying and touching but amazingly weaved story about the relationship between mother and child and the power of recollection.

It can be read here:
César Bustíos
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
"He was completely unprepared for the long, winding road of life ahead of him, and thus ready for anything."

Beautiful. A really good short story exploring the concept of inherited memories. It made me think of the Atreides twins and their genetic memory in Herbert's work "The children of Dune", which I'm currently reading.
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This short story was amazing and terrifying at the same time. Couldn't help but notice some recurrent questions about memories in both Cixin's and Ken Liu's works (see Reborn).
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a free story from Tor that can be found here. Thanks to Rose for turning me on to it.

"I wish I knew then what I know now." How many times have we all thought this? It's a common wish. Cixin explores the possibility in a wonderful way. He shows us just how selective our memories are & the cost of bearing them.
Matthew Quann
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Liu Cixin, of Remembrance of Earth's Past fame, delivers a humanistic sci-fi tale with a great concept. Most of the story takes the form of a mother conversing with her unborn fetus, imparting her memories to her unborn child via experimental technology. There's a lot to ponder in the wake of this short story, which is not surprising given Liu's tendency for dense writing. This isn't a fun story, but its one I enjoyed and one that fans looking to dip their toes into Liu's work would do well to ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
"A person’s memories are like a book, and different readers will experience different feelings. "
Yasmine Aouissi
At first it was disturbing but than It got to explain itself, I honestly don't know how I should react to this, it's deep yet really mysterious. I think I have to re-read it to give a fall review and a fair rating.
Maggie Gordon
This is one of those stories with a fantastic premise, but the narrative itself failed to enthrall me. The idea of inherited memories is fantastic! But the dialogue and the characters felt flat.
Alec Lyons
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Thought provoking and abrupt.

Alhough through inorganic conversation left little emotional attachment to any of the characters.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This was an interesting story that can be found here for free

A scientist has found a way to un-suppress memory inheritance in humans. You know how dogs instinctively know to bury bones without being shown to do so, or fish knowing they have to swim back to the place they were born to spawn...memory inheritance. Humans aren't born with the knowledge of their ancestors passed down until a scientist figures out how to change this.

It doesn't turn out how you think it will, at least it didn't head
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love how short stories can introduce and tackle deep ideas in a thorough way. The Weight of Memories is no different. Meaningful and impactful, this story is thought provoking, touching and moving. I was intrigued by the thought of an unborn child with memories, but was taken by surprise with the direction the story took. I highly recommend this very short story.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: asia, sci-fi, short-story
I saw this author being discussed on my Goodreads update feed and instantly became curious, since I'm always on the lookout for Asian sci-fi translated into English. The brevity of the story (it's about a 5-minute read) works against it in my opinion, but I was impressed by how much story Liu Cixin managed to cram into it. The premise is ripe with possibilities, and the ending, while rather predictable, is worth pondering over.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Liu Cixin
The Weight of Memories
Tor Books
17 pages

Sometimes my imagination works hardest before I go to sleep. My most favorite imagination is actually going back to 15 years ago when I was a child, while still retaining my memories and knowledge. I would've thought that my life will be much more easier, with this infinite possibility of futures are ahead of me. I still hold on to that dream, but Liu's The Weight of Memories grounds me down.

The story can be read legally and freely here.
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting premise, but the execution fell short for me.
Irma Agsari
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
"A self is composed of many things besides memories, things that cannot be replicated. A person’s memories are like a book, and different readers will experience different feelings. It’s a terrible thing to allow an unborn child to read such a heavy, bleak book."

An interesting short story.
Nadine Jones
Day 4 in my 24 Days of Shorts

The world was a blooming flower, a beautiful, gigantic toy. He was completely unprepared for the long, winding road of life ahead of him, and thus ready for anything.

I absolutely loved the fairy tales in Death’s End, and I was looking for more of that type of short story, a fresh new take on a familiar tale. This was disappointing. It feels kind of “meh,” there’s no magic or suspense or surprise here.

read it for yourself here:
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it
extremely interesting premise for a story -- a fetus being able to inherit all the memories of his mother well before he is born. but what are the repercussions of this? why would it be better for him not to?

this story was extremely thought provoking and it brought up the question of what exactly makes people who they are, besides their memories. but it was also very sad, although it couldn't have ended any other way in order to be as satisfying as it was.

read it for yourself here:
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Can be read for free here --> \(^o^)

Brief and quite enticing, this story reminded me that...
(―*))) Well said, Dr. Malcolm~
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars
When an adult enters a room and looks for where to sit they generally identify the chairs and sofas and, depending on social convention, pick one to sit down upon. A young child entering the same room may also sit on a chair or sofa but also might sit on the floor, on a pillow, on a table top, etc. all without any regard for social convention.

The Weight of Memories imagines what would happen if a fetus was able to access all of it's mother's memories. How would it respond? What would it
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
The first part is a conversation between a doctor, a mother, and a fetus. They discuss memory - basically, the fetus has the mother's memories. The idea is that memory gets inherited. The fetus grows increasingly concerned - she remembers the horror in the mother's memories - for example, the press of people in the supermarket. she doesn't acknowledge the possibilities inherent in the memory. Eventually, (view spoiler).

Paul  Perry
I'm as ambivalent about this brief story as I was about Liu's novel The Three-Body Problem, perhaps more so. While I thought it used the form well - focused, evocative, even poetic - it didn't really work for me as a tale. Perhaps it's because there were a couple of bits which annoyed me - in addition to the central premise of inherited memory, the use of the "majority of the brain" being unused is a trope that makes me roll my eyes ( I've still not been able to overcome this to watch Luc ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, sci-fi
An evocative short story, that's for sure. I would have preferred it to be a bit longer, but Cixin certainly knew what he wanted to get across, and did so very efficiently. 3.5, it definitely has my attention.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What will you do if you had the memories inherited by your previous ancestor? Will humanity achieve far more greatness, or nature shut the memories off for a reason?
This is my first exposure of Liu Cixin's works beside Three Body Problem series, and surely he is a very talented writer. While reading this, I feel both weird chill sensation and high excitement I don't want the story to end YET he ended it beautifully and left the reader with a full stomach.
Aug 18, 2016 rated it liked it
What are memories? How long do we have them? Are memories are what makes us us?

And what if you are reborn with the memories of another, already? Does that mean you are the same person? Or that other person whose memories you have?

These and other questions are asking in this interesting, but predicable, short story.

I enjoyed the memories discussed. Interesting concept.
You can read the story fro free at Tor
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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Science Fiction fan and writer.

Liu Cixin also appears as Cixin Liu