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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,323 ratings  ·  416 reviews
Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source ― zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expi ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by The Unnamed Press
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Bethany Morrow Hi Emily! I can only speak as the author, of course, but having written this work in 2011 and being unaware of the source material for Westworld, I th…moreHi Emily! I can only speak as the author, of course, but having written this work in 2011 and being unaware of the source material for Westworld, I think it may simply be the name and the broad concept of self-awareness that's drawing the constant comparison! There are no robots or artificial intelligence in this piece, neither is it about an overt revolt. Hope that helps!(less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,323 ratings  ·  416 reviews

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Elle (ellexamines)
You are never going to read another novella like this, and that is okay. With an incredibly weird conceptand a fantastic exploration of character, this novella makes for such an interesting read.

In a world where memories - primarily traumatic memories - can be extracted and turned into their own people, what should their rights be? When most of the Mems become nothing but the trauma they’ve experienced, why is our lead different? What makes her so?

[This novella is one of the most philosophic
Emily B
I absolutely adored the first half of this book and was excited when reading it. It felt like everything I wanted from this genre was there

Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed by the second half.. for me it just don’t meet it’s full potential, leaving me kind of confused. I wasn’t sure if I had missed something or if the second half really was that flat..
A solid novella about a world in which people can extract their memories and turn them into people. These people, called Mems, get locked away in the secluded Vault to relive that singular experience until they wither and pass away. This story follows Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem who can create memories of her own. While Dolores Extract #1 has a few allies in the facility that creates Mems, she later learns that she risks getting reprinted, which entails losing all of her autonomy, her idea ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ridiculously, unfathomably good.

For fans of thinky, tense, character-driven, grounded scifi concerned with the nature of humanity, along the lines of NEVER LET ME GO or EX MACHINA.

In short, this is the exact kind of story I'm constantly searching for, and Morrow nails it.

I'll post a more complete review soon, but for now, PLEASE get this one on your radar.
da AL
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating contemplation in story form about the winding road our memories take us on -- as well as how memories become elastic within groups, society, history, hope and dreams, and on and on. Audiobook performer Soneel Nankani does a beautiful job.
An interesting and wholly original story, set in a world where the Professor has discovered a way to extract memories from their Sources as wholly separate - if incomplete - beings. Elsie, our protagonist is the one exception to the hundreds of extracted memories and isn't merely a captured moment of time; instead, she's a being with thoughts and memories and opinions of her own. But in this world, memories belong to their owners, and Elsie has just been called back to her Vault...

Examining the
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Maybe 5 stars, maybe a little less but because it’s original and unwinds at a perfect pace it’s worth all the stars. The language sometimes took me off guard - not a complaint just a note that I needed to reread some sentences. Perhaps it was a feeling caused by finding words to describe being a memory.
Makeda / ColourLit
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Whilst ‘Mem’ is a very well written novel(la), it didn’t quite meet my expectations. The synopsis lured me in - set in 1920s Montreal; the elite are able to have their unpleasant memories extracted into cloned versions of themselves. Delores Extract No. 1 (aka Elsie) is the first and only ‘Mem’ capable of creating her own memories. Due to her unique state she is allowed to live somewhat independently, until (20 years later) she is suddenly recalled back to the ‘Vault’ that houses the other mems. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Head over heels for this book. You know that feeling when you’re reading a book and you can’t quiet the internal screaming from how much you’re enjoying it? That was me the entire time I was reading MEM by Bethany C. Morrow. Wowowow I loved this book.⁣

Morrow seamlessly blends speculative and historical fiction in this novel, which reimagines 1920’s Montreal with the addition of a fascinating technology that allows people’s memories to be extracted so they no longer experience the associated pai
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a real achievement, and I’m glad I read it on vacation so that I could slow down and appreciate it. The premise is a stunner and Morrow makes the most of it—there’s such richness and complexity here. In an alternate 1920s era Montreal, Dolores Extract #1 is a Mem—a memory removed from a person and stored in the Vault. Most Mems aren’t sentient and can’t form new memories of their own; they’re husks doomed to relive the memory they hold in perpetuity until they expire. Dolores—or as ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

MEM is a short, subtle, sophisticated novel about a literally personified memory extract through whom Morrow allows the reader to re-examine what it is to be human in isolation and existing in complex societies in which our well-being is often predicated on the oppression of others.

Morrow's determined focus on exploring Dolores's extract's interiority, as she names herself Elsie, develops her own opinions and ideals through the kind of careful observation that we discard in the busine
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This novella packs a lot into a slim volume. Much in the same vein of “Never Let Me Go” it explores the question of what makes a person. Additionally, though, this book explores memory, how it shapes is, how it helps prepare us for life ahead and what we become without it. I liked the writing style and the early 20th century setting.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

See me discuss this book in my June wrap up:
I am a memory. Now I suppose I’ll live like one.

With that opening sentence begins one of the best stories I’ve read.

MEM is a historical speculative fiction novella that presents an interesting world–what if you could extract memories and moments and maintain them as keepsakes of sorts? Pieces of yourself, who look like you, created for a specific reason. At first glance the concept reminded me a lot of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which was why I was drawn to this little book.

We m
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a super fun read. About a “mem”, an embodied memory withdrawn from a woman’s mind to forget a traumatic event, the particular extraction seems more human than the rest. Having had a chance to love freely in 1920’s Montreal, she’s called back tot he vault to be confined and reprinted by her original. This book felt like a 1920’s film, Morrow really captured that. The book was glossy, and thoughtful, and enjoyable. I appreciated that Morrow included an author’s note at the end explaining ...more
Laura Shovan
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. Think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind + Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a female MC/creation. It is inventive, heart-breaking, full of big ideas about what it means to be human and whether we can own or belong to another person. 💔 ...more
Chad Gayle
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
You know that feeling you get when you start to read a novel with an opening that is full of promise and then realize, about fifty pages in, that you are in for a big letdown, that your hopes for a great story that will match what you loved about the book’s beginning will be dashed?

Yeah. Mem is that kind of book. A brilliant beginning, a beginning that might have spawned a story as memorable as the title, gives way to a tale with such limited impact, and which is (sadly) flawed in such an obviou
Hannah (Peevey) Way
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this for my local bookclub and, aside from some stilted language, I really enjoyed it. Excited to see what she does next!
Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)
I know I was really not in the right head space to read this but I was already a good chunk into it and knew if I returned it to the library I would likely never take it out again. So we both have to deal with the fact that I likely didn't give this interesting speculative concept the attention it deserves.

The concept of the Mems, extracted memories that create a new person that harbors and lives that memory in a Zombie-like state, is interesting. Especially when our main girl is not a typical
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Overall average rating: 5/5

World-building: 5/5
Although the story took place in a fictional Montreal in the 1920s. In this particular society, people averted pain and suffering by "extracting" painful memories. And these memories, once extracted, resembled the person they were removed from and stored away in a facility called the Vault. The world-building was gradual, unfolding slowly in bits and pieces of details that Morrow peppered throughout the book. I kind of preferred it that way because i
Anna Bright
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, historical
what a feat. what a strange, lovely, sad, cerebral book.
Caroline Bock
A contemplative speculative novel about 'memory extraction' in the early 20th century Montreal. In turns, I found this novel about how the rich and wealthy rid themselves of disturbing memories by having them removed into replicas called 'Mems' an intriguing concept, a thought piece. The evocative setting of Montreal at the turn of the last century, an island in the middle of technological revolution gone slightly awry helped make the novel strange and wonderful-- as did the main character Dolor ...more
Sydney Legg
May 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
"Thank god that book is over" said me, 15 minutes ago, finishing this book.

Concept = amazing, unique, 5 stars

Execution, writing, characters = ugh, I can't even.
I was so confused and exhausted trying to wrap my head around this world that was built. Why is it 1920? Does it matter? Is that cool or trying too hard? What is a mem?! Is it an embodiment? Is it a shimmery orb? Does it look & feel like a real human? Why did I just read that sentence 20 times to understand what is going?

I love this con
Janelle Janson
Review to come
Jun 12, 2021 rated it liked it
It was an intruging premise but didn't captivate me as much as I've wanted to. It was okay to listen to but not more then that ...more
After witnessing a gruesome car accident, nineteen-year-old Dolores undergoes an experimental procedure to have the memory of it surgically removed. The process of extracting the memory creates a "Mem": a physical duplicate of the person who experienced that memory. Mems are living, breathing beings who, though not completely sentient, are trapped within the extracted memory, reliving that memory for a limited period of time before expiration.

Except when Dolores extracts her memory, what's creat
Never Without a Book
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A delightful story with an unusual setting! Trying not to include spoilers, but I really like the meditation on how experiences are nothing without self-reflection. I appreciate the wonderful architectural details too.
Apr 27, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Ok, but not very enthralling. Was hoping for more.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Simone by: Kate
Shelves: 2018-read

Hat tip to the Lawrence Public Library Book Squad podcast for recommending this, I hadn't heard of it before. It's a really interesting concept, of memories that can be extracted (a la Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), but the memories live as fully formed people or mems. It's set in the 1920s in Montreal, and it's about sort of philosophical concepts of life and trauma (as most good sci-fi is). Would recommend, especially because it's not a very long read.
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A somewhat-recovering expat living in the American Northeast (with one foot still firmly planted in Quebec), Bethany C Morrow writes speculative fiction for both the adult and the young adult market.

Her adult debut, MEM, was an ABA 2018 Indies Introduce pick, and a June Indie Next pick, and was featured/reviewed in: Locus Magazine, the LA Times, Buzzfeed, Book Riot, Bustle, and, among othe

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  Melissa Albert burst onto the YA scene (and catapulted into readers' hearts) with her 2018 debut The Hazel Wood. This darkly fantastical...
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“Why is memory this way? Why isn’t it content to hurt you once? Why must it remind you of all the times you’ve been hurt before?” 4 likes
“I couldn’t decide whether to laugh. It was one of those strange remarks offered in jest that nevertheless displays all the hallmarks of honesty.” 0 likes
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