This was a very short story. I assume it's early sci-fi but can't be sure.

The plot was two men sitting at a table having coffee. One of the men goes into the future with a notebook and camera. He returns and both items are empty. He is asked what he remembers and he says he remembers nothing. He then remembers that they "showed him everything and told him everything and then asked if he wanted to forget." The other person responds "Incredible."


"The Choice" by Wayland Hilton-Young, first published in Punch, March 19, 1952. The beginning:

Before Williams went into the future he bought a camera and a tape recording machine and learned shorthand. That night, when all was ready, we made coffee and put out brandy and glasses against his return.

The ending:

"I can remember only one thing."

"What was that?"

"I was shown everything, and I was given the choice whether I should remember it or not after I got back."

"And you chose not to? But what an extraordinary thing to—"

"Isn't it?" he said. "One can't help wondering why."

You can read the whole thing here.

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  • That's it! thanks you so much!!!! – user21199 Jan 8 '14 at 5:02
  • @user14111 One wonders why user21199 did not accept your answer... Probably disappeared years ago, but you were perfectly right ! All I can do is upvote your answer. – Alfred Nov 17 '19 at 22:20
  • @Alfred It happens quite often, especially (I think) with story-identification answers. A new user found this site, got an answer to his one question, and left; presumably unaware of the procedure for accepting an answer by clicking on the check mark. At least we can be glad user 21199 was good enough to leave a comment confirming the identification. – user14111 Nov 18 '19 at 1:20

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