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"SF looks towards an imaginary future, while fantasy, by and large, looks towards an imaginary past."
- Frederik Pohl

Emblok  
  A device that imparts memories into the regrown brain, just like uploading content into a computer's random access memory.  

In this novel, this particular character was regrown, apparently from his own DNA (why not clone yourself?). But how to make that person your self? Treat your gray matter as if it was a set of flash memory integrated circuits; play back into the developing new brain all of the thoughts and impressions that made you "you."

It was hard to believe that Rufeu had been killed nine years ago. As he sat with us over a glass of wine, he barely looked six years old today...

"Could have been worse, of course - they say if you die when you're fifty or so, you can still be trying to get everything back off your emblok when you're thirty..."

He fingered the black knob, no bigger than the nail of his little finger, behind his ear, from which all the copied memories of his first lifetime played back slowly into his brain.

Technovelgy from Earth Made of Glass, by John Barnes.
Published by Tom Doherty Associates in 1998
Additional resources -

For a look at what others think about it, see the article "How does human memory compare with computer memory?."

Obviously, the usual questions about identity still arise. Is this just a copy of you that thinks it is you? The real you has died.

And what's more, given that you only have whatever has been recorded about you (not the real sum total of your experience) what you really have is a "lite" version of you.

Okay, as long as I've gone this far, what if the regrown version of you dies, and you are regrown again, and so on several more times, with only the successive "lite" versions of yourself available for embloking. Ever seen a tenth-generation Xerox copy?

Another twist on this kind of idea can be found in the idea of implanted memory, from We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, by Philip K. Dick.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Earth Made of Glass
  More Ideas and Technology by John Barnes
  Tech news articles related to Earth Made of Glass
  Tech news articles related to works by John Barnes

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