I am trying to find a short story I read a few years back in a science fiction course. I believe the name of it was "Borrowed Time" but there is a short film and a new anthology with the same title, so I can't find it online or the title is completely different.

The basic synopsis is a girl is growing up while her mother is an astronaut exploring other planets. Due to time dilation, whenever her mother visits she is basically the same age but the girl continues to grow. I remember the story ends with the mother dying because of an accident on another planet, and the daughter is like 100 years old and dies shortly after the mother.

I really enjoyed it but I can't find any mention of it anymore. Does anyone remember this story and know where I could find it?

Edit: Thanks for the suggestions, unfortunately still haven't been able to find it. A few more details I remember: the mother dies by falling rocks on another planet, I specifically remember the phrase "xenophobic stones" being used to describe it. I read it in 2019 so it is older than that and I'm almost positive it was told in the first person.

  • Shore Leave Blacks by Nancy Etchemendy is similar in concept, though it's a son in it, not a daughter.
    – Shawn
    Commented Apr 25 at 17:44
  • It seems to be quite a popular title with 8 exact matches in the past 20 years. I didn't see any obvious matches there, though a number of them look to be extremely difficult to chase down.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 25 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


This is very close to Memories of My Mother by Ken Liu. This was published in 2012 and has been published in a number of places. The full text is available on the Daily Science Fiction web site here, so you can easily check if this is the story. It was adapted into a short file, but the film was called Beautiful Dreamer not Borrowed Time.

In the story the mother has an unidentified terminal disease that will kill her in two years. She uses the time dilation to stay alive long enough to see her daughter grow up, then age.

The story ends with the daughter enfeebled by old age. The mother doesn't die in the story, but her two years is up and she declares she will stay for good, with the implication being that she has chosen to stay and die with her daughter.


So I followed DavidW's comment and went through the list, and I found it! It's Borrowed Time by Anabel Enríquez Piñeiro! It's a translation so that may be why it was so hard to find, thank you everyone for your assistance!

  • I'm pleased I was able to help, even just a little bit. :D Don't forget to come back tomorrow and accept your answer!
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 26 at 15:34
  • Thank you for sending the answer! I was working hard to find it, not only to answer but because I wanted to read it. And any stories on time dilation, my favorite theme. Commented Apr 26 at 23:48

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