I have a very vague memory of a novel/short story/film/perhaps even graphic novel, where dead people were able, for some time after their death, to return to their family and speak with them for a limited amount of time. I seem to remember an image of people in a kind of cemetery looking at some device where dead people manifested, but it is well possible that I am mixing up more than one story with a similar idea.


4 Answers 4



I believe the story you are talking about is Ubik by Philip K Dick. A fantastic story.

Runciter runs the company with the assistance of his deceased wife Ella, who is kept in a state of "half-life", a form of cryonic suspension that gives the deceased person limited consciousness and communication ability.

  • Yes, I believe that this it. I have read it many years ago, and probably have mixed it up in the meantime with other similar - or not so similar - ideas (perhaps cemeteries with holograms and the like).
    – DaG
    Apr 19, 2011 at 17:03
  • @DaG: You should select it as the correct answer if you decide it really is the answer. :)
    – DampeS8N
    Apr 19, 2011 at 17:51
  • You are right. I was waiting a little more time in the off-chance some other suggestion makes ring a (louder) bell... :-)
    – DaG
    Apr 19, 2011 at 21:29

The TV series Pushing Daisies was also about people returning from death for a minute, although it was because the protagonist had that power to solve misteries.


In the first episode of Torchwood they used a device (a mysterious glove) to bring people back to life for a short amount of time to interrogate a murder victim. It was time-limited, maybe 30 seconds, and had to be done soon after death (no more than a day IIRC).

The glove was also used in a later episode where it's matching glove was found with a different power.

  • I doubt this was it - that glove was only ever used at the scene, and was limited to about 30 seconds, if I recall - though I never saw the later episode.
    – Jeff
    Apr 19, 2011 at 17:32

Is it possibly "Beautiful Stuff" by Susan Palwick? The dead in this can be revived, and will remember their lives and can communicate with people.

They do, however, tend to be easily distracted. The main character is one who tries very hard to communicate important messages to his wife and to humanity at large, after a 9/11-esque attack.

It's included in the collection The Living Dead, which has a large number of zombie-related short stories.

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