Ken Liu writes such beautifully touching sci-fi and fantasy. I dare you not to be moved by his short stories The Paper Menagerie, a multiple award-winning tale of a biracial boy in a Northeastern suburb whose paper menagerie comes to life with the magic of his mother's love, or Memories of My Mother, an incredibly poignant sci-fi tale of a dying mother who goes to great lengths to steal a few moments through the years in order to watch her daughter grow up.
With stories packing such an emotional punch, it's no surprise that filmmakers have adapted his work. Beautiful Dreamer is one such adaptation. Based on Memories of My Mother above, this 26-minute short captures all the love and heartache shared between a mother and daughter through the years that was so affecting (and, for me at least, emotionally devastating) in Liu's original flash fiction tale.
Take the time to read and watch them both this weekend — you'll only need half an hour for both. It'll be worth it, I promise.
Based on the short story Memories of My Mother by Ken Liu
A dying mother travels at near-light speed, bending time to watch her baby daughter grow up.
Beautiful Dreamer is a sci-fi, time travel tale set in a striking near future world of drones, robots, holograms and transport pods. But it’s also a personal story. A mother, facing a terminal disease, leaves her baby daughter and travels into space at near-light speed. Using relativity, she is able to stretch her final two years over her daughter’s entire lifetime but is only able to visit her daughter for one night every seven years. The visits are sometimes sad and sometimes beautiful. The daughter reaches her own mother’s age and then passes far beyond that while the mother is left stranded at the same age she was when she first left. The characters are torn apart by the same technology that unites them - briefly - over a lifetime.
Director: David Gaddie
Starring: Jo Armeniox, Natalie Smith and Lynn Cohen
Run Time: 26 minutes (26:11)