I'm looking for a short story where a guy goes back in time (I think repeatedly in some form) and the story ends with the guy either wondering or getting confused (or maybe just making a statement about) his identity. Something like "I know who I am but who are all you zombies?!" What story is this?

The story might be from the 1980s. Or it might predate that by one or more decades.


1 Answer 1


That's " '—All You Zombies—' " by Robert A. Heinlein. 1960, available to read here

The main character (a time traveler) winds up being his own father and mother, and says, just before the story ends, "I know where I came from -- but where did all you zombies come from?" (He is born and raised female, is seduced, has a baby, discovers that he also has male organs and that her female organs are wrecked, becomes a man, gets recruited into the Time Patrol (by himself), seduces his earlier female self, and takes the resulting baby girl back in time to be raised as him/herself.)

Heinlein really did like solipsism...

  • 7
    Was this an inspiration for the movie Predestination? Sounds very similar
    – Allball103
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 17:58
  • 3
    It was, yes. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination_(film) Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 18:20
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    Technically the em dash (or possibly two, one at each end) is part of the title. Heinlein titled several stories that way. I think it indicates that the title is an incomplete, truncated thought, the way others would use an ellipsis. "—All You Zombies—" would be from the quote in question, "—And He Built a Crooked House—" from the traditional poem, "—We Also Walk Dogs" from the advertisement in the story which ends on those words, etc.
    – hobbs
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 23:22

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