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Laser Guided Amnesia / Literature

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Laser-Guided Amnesia in literature.

  • The entire plot of C.T. Phipps' Agent G is kicked off with the premise the Letters (26 Supersoldier assassins) have had their memories erased and stored by the International Refugee Society. They are told they will get them back after ten years of service as assassins. This proves to be a lie, as they're all Artificial Humans who have no memories to restore. They're just mind-wiped again.
  • Rachel from Animorphs in The Andalite's Gift.
    • Averted with Tobias's mother, Loren, who gave him up after a car accident left her both blind and amnesiac. He tracks her down years later, and she explains that she just didn't forget who she was or what she had done (including having a son), but things as basic as "how to brush your teeth" or "that those hard things in your mouth are called teeth."
  • Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept: In Juxtaposition, the Adverse Adepts set a trap for the Blue Adept Stile: sending a brainwashed unicorn mare to approach him, then shake herself dry, having been covered in Lethe water. Lady Blue and Neysa, having spotted the mare's odd behavior, shield Stile and end up having their memories wiped. Once Stile realizes what happened, he was able to immediately reverse the memory loss. note 
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  • Area 51: Majic-12 is shown to have a technology called EDOM (for Electronic Dissolution Of Memory) which can erase people's memories selectively.
  • In Artemis Fowl, the fairies have mind-wiping technology which can be fine-tuned to suppress only specific memories.
    • The process is not perfect, however. Exposure to stimuli regarding the repressed memories can bring them back. Of course, the fairies monitor most subjects of this to ensure that this never happens. And since they run a huge Masquerade, the odds of a fairie-induced amnesiac regaining their relevant memories are extremely low.
  • In The Bees Flora's mind is wiped after she fails her second test, reducing her to the level of her kin on the surface. But something of herself lingers under the surface and her mind is restored after hearing the Hive Mind.
  • The vampires in the Black Dagger Brotherhood can fuzz out specific memories in human's brains, and can also mess up security cameras for specific amounts of time, all in order to stay anonymous in the general human populace.
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  • Lucy Pavlov of Blonde Bombshell has forgotten about everything except the last five years. Her search for why is a large part of the plot.
  • Breaking the Wall: Early in Thirteen Orphans, several characters are subjected to the spell that strips them specifically of memories pertaining to their shared heritage of descendants of an emperor and his advisers who were exiled from their homeland. All other memories remain intact, though when one of the antagonists, raised in this knowledge all his life, is hit by the spell he loses all memory.
  • In Bubble World, memory blockers were meant to erase players' memory of three weeks before entering Bubble World; instead they erased all of it. Freesia's comes back very gradually.
  • In the Cahill Witch Chronicles, the protagonists and other witches are able to make people forget specific events. They use this to keep the fact that they are witches secret, to avoid being captured and burned at the stake. However, they cannot do this very often, as it uses up magic power, and they have to look at the person they are doing it to — which is bad news for any witch who did magic in public.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • The titular Index has a perfect memory, which means that her brain would become overloaded with memories if she didn't have her memories wiped regularly. This is an in-universe example of Artistic License – Biology, as the real reason for the memory wipes is to keep her under control. In a cruel sense of irony, she no longer has to undergo this after the first volume... but the main character Touma loses all of his memories at the same time.
    • Misaki, the strongest telepath, is capable of removing memories. She can do this with great precision: in the spinoff, she causes all of Mikoto's friends to forget about Mikoto specifically. It eventually turns out that Touma has anterograde amnesia specific to her. Prior to the start of the series, he was injured in a fight and she used her power to save his life, but as a side effect this damaged his brain in such a way that he can no longer remember anything about her.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Shade can and does erase memories. She erased the first six years of Mallory's life, and also all of Alex's memories of his nanny, because Alex had preferred the nanny to her.
  • In Confessions of a D-list Supervillain Mechani-Cal used a device to help the world forget their addiction to the Defeated mind-control bugs. Later it is used on his new girlfriend and Superhero Aphrodite by her EX to forget her feelings for Mechani-Cal.
  • In Deerskin, the female protagonist is raped and impregnated by her father, and institutes this on herself to such an extent that she can literally remember almost nothing but her own name. Later, when the memories return by force, a Deus ex Machina takes them away again until she can grow strong enough to deal with them.
  • In the Deryni novels, the clergy assigned to Rhemuth's Cathedral of Saint George and Saint Hilary's Basilica (including Brother Jerome, the sacristan and Duncan's chaplain Father Shandon) are regular victims of this trope. A Transfer Portal is located in the cathedral sacristy, and another is in Duncan's study at the basilica; inconvenient clerics often must to be dealt with to maintain The Masquerade and allow Deryni to secretly use them. Eventually, the issue is remarked upon: Duncan says of Shandon, "He's discreet and he's loyal — and I can make sure he doesn't remember anything he oughtn't. I don't like to do that, but sometimes there's no choice."
  • Diana Tregarde: In Burning Water, Tezcatlipoca sets up a magical trap that has a similar effect to this trope. After Diana trips it during a mystic probe of one of the murder sites, she still has all her knowledge. However, she is unable to make the mental connections that will identify the murders as Aztec rituals unless someone else points it out or she gets a piece of information via clue-by-four.
  • In the prologue of The Dinosaur Lords, an Angel whose arrival on Paradise is witnessed by a farm boy wipes the memory of the encounter from boy's mind, but leaves everything else intact, making it seem as if the kid fell asleep on the job.
  • In Divergent, the serum associated with the Abnegation can erase memories.
  • The Divine Comedy: The river Lethe flows across the top of Mount Purgatory so that penitent sinners can wash away their guilty memories (and only their guilty memories) in its waters. Dante agrees to bathe in it after Beatrice harshly reminds him of his sins, an incident that Lethe washes from his memories alongside his other memories of sin.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: Happens to the Eighth Doctor in the Eighth Doctor Adventures. Fitz initially tries to keep him this way, as it's also a case of Trauma-Induced Amnesia, following the Doctor's Heroic BSoD after the first time he destroyed his home planet, and Fitz is afraid he'll be even worse when he remembers than he was right after he did it. But, after a while, Fitz decides he's had enough of this trope and thinks the Doctor is just faking so he doesn't have to face the Awful Truth:
    "You don't remember anyone or anything, except when you do, of course. You can't operate the TARDIS any more, except when you can. You don't know what happens in the future, except when you do. Drop the act, it got old years ago."
  • The Dresden Files
    • Any use of mind magic, including memory modification, is against the Seven Laws of Magic. Violating this law can be punishable by death so the necessary magics are regulated by the White Council. However, this restriction only applies to human users of magic.
    • Grave Peril: Susan Rodriguez gives a year of her memory to Harry's Faerie Godmother, Leanansidhe, in exchange for Harry to stop suffering the effects of a broken bargain. Lea takes all the memories that Susan had of being in a personal relationship with Harry. She got better. Then it got worse. Harry is able to get her to remember by invoking their love for each other.
    • Small Favor: Queen Mab, Lea's monarch, carefully strips Harry Dresden of all his knowledge of fire-based magic and of his blasting rod for his own protection, because his enemies could track any fire he cast and be on him instantly. Of course, she didn't tell him and it was only by the work of God did Harry regain some of the missing memories.
    • Ghost Story: When discussing ghosts with Lea, Harry learns ghosts are primarily made of memories. This leads to Lea admitting that memory is stored in more places than just the three-pound flesh. The Universe itself remembers. Within the current universe, if one looks carefully, they could find the beginning of the Universe. This leads Harry to get a ghost to push past the memory wipe done on him in his life and remember details about his murder.
  • Eddie LaCrosse: In The Sword-Edged Blonde, Queen Rhiannon has always claimed to have no memories of anything whatsoever before the day she met her future husband, King Phillip. This doesn't matter much until she's accused of infanticide and black magic, which naturally raises questions about her character and history. It turns out that she doesn't have any memories from before that because she wasn't originally human, being a goddess who deliberately chose to incarnate as a human without any memory of who she really was.
  • In False Memory, Dr. Ahriman does this to damn near everybody around him. He has all his patients and most of his staff conditioned to respond to code words, which allow him to put them into a hypnotic trance and make them do whatever he wants. Sometimes it's practical, but it's often really, really squicky.
  • In The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, one of two ways to essentially kill a kalachakra is this: The Forgetting. It involves a Memory-Wiping Crew carefully attaching a number of electrical nodes to the head of the subject and injecting a chemical cocktail into their veins, which wipes the mind of the subject. The subject is then killed and reborn with no memory of previous lives (other than a strong sense of deja vu) unless the subject is a mnemonic like Harry, with perfect recall of all previous lives, who by the end of the book has survived two Forgettings both at the hands of Vincent, although the book isn't explicit as to whether or not Vincent simply screwed up during the procedure.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome features a progressive mindwipe (from birth to present, keeping the victim aware of the process) as capital punishment in a regicide case. The body is then sold to a willing bidder, although the protagonist rightfully assumes being the Unwitting Pawn. A fugitive transhuman female leaves with the mindwiped transhuman male body and the stolen (or liberated) digital male personality of her creator/lover. Now assume that said lover knows how to download himself.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, someone has wiped out Robin's memories of his identity and his past, as well as his supernatural abilities (he doesn't know he has a Healing Factor, for example), leaving only a few spots that for the most part turn out to be fake memories implanted to keep him stable. He still retains his badassery and various skills and languages he's picked up before the mind wipe, though.
  • In Teresa Edgerton's The Grail and the Ring, Gwenlliant is subjected to Laser-Guided Amnesia combined with a type of Grand Theft Me — the Big Bad, a Voluntary Shapeshifter, takes a copy of Gwenlliant's memories, and deliberately imposes Laser-Guided Amnesia to keep Gwenlliant under control. Afterward, the Big Bad can take Gwenlliant's shape.
  • In the Griffin's Daughter series, Sadaiyo has this done to himself: Having his memories of betraying his brother, Ashinji via setting him up to be captured by humans removed in order to hide his actions from his mother, a powerful mage who would verify his story via mind reading. The memories return on their own later, but save a brief wave of What Have I Done, they don't factor in to the rest of the story.
  • Harry Potter features the Obliviate Charm, which wipes a person's memories based on the skill of the caster. The charm can have some nasty side effects, though; when Gilderoy Lockhart tries to use the charm on Harry and Ron while clutching Ron's broken wand, it backfires and wipes pretty much his entire memory. Interestingly, Lockhart's amnesia follows the rules to a T, except for the fact that he apparently forgets Functional Magic is real. This raises the possibility that the malfunction might've caused the Obliviate effect to do to Lockhart exactly what it's designed to do to Muggles: wipe out all recollection of the wizarding world or its magics. Since Lockhart isn't Muggle-born, this would erase his entire past, which is precisely what happened.
    • The Obliviate Charm is played for laughs in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when the very perceptive and suspicious Muggle groundskeeper that is unknowingly renting out space for the International Quidditch Cup fans has to be repeatedly charmed to keep him unknowing. Played for drama again when it's revealed that Crouch Sr. erased Bertha Jorkins's memory of Barty Crouch Jr. with a Memory Charm powerful enough to damage her memory permanently, leaving her an absentminded and bumbling shadow of her former self.
  • Hive Mind (2016): Downplayed. Memory resets unwind the memory chain back to a certain point. Specific things can't be wiped without wiping everything after them.
  • Forget charms in The Hollows novels remove specific memories from anyone they are used on. Rachel has had them used on her twice. The first to remove all memories of the illegal genetic treatment she received as a child. The second was given to her by her own partner to remove the memory of her boyfriend's murder so she would not go after the vampire who killed him and get killed herself. In the second case though she got better.
    • The second use of the charm was notable in that the information removed from Rachel's mind is also removed from the book itself. The narrative skipped over the parts removed from her memory. Readers had to wait until Rachel's memories returned two books later to see the scene for themselves.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth universe, a technique called "selective mindwipe" can be employed to surgically remove memories from a person's brain. The Commonwealth itself only uses mindwipe in cases of particularly heinous crimes, as an alternative to execution, but there are insinuations that it's used by less savory groups to prevent people from ratting them out. The most often cited use of mindwipe is on the members of the Meliorare Society.
  • In Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Mr. Segundus tries to remember his visit to Mr. Norrell's by writing it down. He finds that his memory changes every time he looks at it and finally concludes that he will never remember and burns his account.
  • Landslide (1967): The protagonist has forgotten all personal information, including his own name, in a car accident. That he hasn't forgotten the geology he studied before the accident becomes a minor plot point. He may or may not be a guy who was a fairly sociopathic criminal before the accident — two people were in the car and he doesn't know which one he is. He never does learn his previous identity, but he (and people who've come to like him) conclude that since he's a decent person now, it doesn't matter.
  • In Daniel Keys Moran's The Last Dancer an extremely long-lived (possibly effectively immortal) human from the distant past, future or a different time-stream (in-universe they are not substantially different concepts) arrives on earth several tens of thousands of years ago local time. Because of their long lifetimes, one of the abilities his society has developed is a method of "archiving" your own memories - like ZIP for the brain - so that your brain doesn't fill up over the eons, while still being able to retain older memories. Exceptionally long periods of meditation are required to organize and archive your memories in this way, which can result in a sort of self-imposed amnesia since you can decide what memories will get archived. He then suffers from head trauma that gives him Laser-Guided Amnesia and he mostly forgets his history, retaining the knowledge that yeah, he lives for a very very long time and a few scattered recent memories that he tries to piece back together over time. Averted in a sense because all his archived memories are still present, only it takes his brain a couple hundred years to heal over and recover the memories until he reaches a point where it all snaps back into place.
  • In Lyra and Bon Bon and the Mares from S.M.I.L.E., the use of a mirror and a spell called Reflection Deflection induces this.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, it's mentioned that every time Jedao is attached to someone, their memories of that period are wiped out afterwards.
  • The Recognition of Shakuntala, an episode from the Ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata that was later Expanded into a theatrical drama by the Indian playwright Kalidasa around the 1st century BC, is probably the Ur-Example of this trope. It's a Girl Meets Boy story revolving around a woman named Shakuntala who meets a guy named Dushyanta and they get married, only for him to get cursed with Amnesia and completely forget her. The only way to lift the curse is to show him the ring that he gave her, but she loses the ring in a river. She eventually finds the ring by the end of the story, makes him remember, and then they live Happily Ever After.
  • In Matched, everyone is required to take around three pills. The red pill wipes your memory of the last 2 days. This is used to keep people from remembering things that are out of the ordinary.
  • In The Maze Runner, every Glader has had all his memories of his life before the Glade erased, save for their names.
  • In Donald E. Westlake's final novel, Memory, the protagonist, Paul Cole, suffers brain damage after sleeping with another man's wife. At first, he's fine, but as the story goes on, he loses most of his memory function. He can remember things, but they leak out of his head. It does not end well.
  • The Mortal Instruments:
    • Prior to City of Bones, Jocelyn brought Clary to Magnus Bane every two years to have her memories of the Shadowhunter world wiped.
    • In City of Heavenly Fire, Asmodeus takes all of Simon's memories of Clary and the Shadow World from him as part of the deal to return everybody from Edom to Earth. This is both because he relishes human memories and he knows it will hurt all of Simon's friends, especially Isabelle, to be forgotten by him. Magnus is able to restore some fragments of Simon's memories, but for the most part he has to start over from scratch.
    • Magnus Bane can induce it, such as his work on Clary. However, he can't undo it.
  • In The Mouse Watch, whenever the titular heroes are seen by humans, the Watch maintains The Masquerade with drones that emit "Sleep Spray", which somehow also erases the relevant memories.
  • In Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, the protagonist suffers from amnesia that leaves him with only his semantic memory, erasing whatever he had made a personal connection with. He's left with memories of the books he's read and of various subconscious procedures (e.g., writing his name on a check), but not of his wife or his childhood.
  • One monster in My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister erases the memory of its existence from the minds of anyone who sees it. They'll still get terrified and run away from it, they just won't remember why they were running. However, it turns out that this isn't a supernatural effect; said monster is actually the main character's mother, and his mind is refusing to accept this fact.
  • In Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Marco uses his ability to remove memories frequently. Chandresh in particular grows a bit unstable because of what he has to removed.
  • The Obsidian Trilogy: Kellen Tavadon was made to forget his older sister, Idalia, who raised him until he was six years old, after she was banished from the city of Armethalieh when she was sixteen for being a Wildmage. Even after he reunites with her, he's never able to regain the lost memories.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, this is one of the methods used by the Eyes to uphold the Masquerade. However, it doesn't always work, and those who regain their memories are Killed to Uphold the Masquerade. The protagonist, Devi, has her memory erased at the end of the first book, and regains it partway through the second.
  • Terry Pratchett:
    • He often uses the concept that humans forget events that are too vast to be comprehended in order to remain sane. This often leaves lead characters remembering saving the world only to have everyone else think they've gone off the rocker. Since they're usually wizards, nobody really cares.
    • In the Discworld novel Soul Music, Death goes to join the Klatchian Foreign Legion out in the desert in order to forget his duties. It doesn't really work for him but the humans there have forgotten nearly everything, including their own names. The only things they remember is the sand, you won't forget the sand.
    • In The Science of Discworld III novel, it's shown that the Unseen University wizards can do this, but it's considered extremely bad form to do it without the target's consent. A traumatized Charles Darwin wishes to forget the events of the book, including meeting the God of Evolution, so the wizards happily oblige him.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Tybalt, Miranda's familiar, says that the Eleusinian Mysteries were an attempt to gain the secrets of the cats, and explains that everyone must drink from Lethe to return to life, except cats, who can live without that eight more times. (If a cat hasn't learned to stay out of trouble after nine tries, they figure he might as well start over.) The Mysteries tried to make the initiates Demeter's adopted children, and so the Maiden's adopted siblings, so she would let them off out of nepotism.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Puck makes the children forget meeting him each time they part, then restores their memories when he meets them again, to prevent their talking about what he told them. In the sequel, Rewards and Fairies, they start trying to outwit him to hold onto their memories, but he's always a step ahead. The last story ends with the status quo in place, and it's not clear whether Puck will ultimately let them keep their memories or make them forget forever.
  • L. Jagi Lamplighter's Rachel Griffin: In The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel, Rachel suffers this near a magical tree. Given that her memory has always been absolutely perfect, this terrifies her. Shortly after, the raven and the elf reveal that the raven's "Oblivion" is its chief tool to maintain the stability of the universe and protect refugees from other universes.
  • Raise Some Hell: This is an effect of summoning and contracting a demon. You lose something that makes up your identity, and forget it entirely, except for some nagging thoughts every once in a while.
  • In Relativity, Sara has her memories repeatedly wiped by a device from the future. After it's been used several times, other characters begin to realize that she's starting to lose bits of herself other that which was erased intentionally.
  • In Shaman of the Undead, magical therapists sometimes work through this. So-called "sowers of oblivion" can make someone forget any person completely, provided that a proper personal trinket is given away. Said trinket acts like a storage for wiped-out memory, so if wiped-out person touches it, memories all come back. The opposite is "sowers of memories" and they deal in Brainwashing Muggles.
  • In The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin, Jacob thinks this is what happened to him, but the real reason he can't remember his life is because he never even had one. Later, this happens to John when he's rescued from the Glade not knowing who he is, though he eventually recovers.
  • In the Slated series, slating wipes a person's memories clean.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, every returning member of the eleventh expedition into the Eldritch Location Area X reappeared back at their homes with no memory of what happened in the area or how they'd gotten back.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, one witch inflicts this on another. And it screws her over later because the curse makes Sal unable to even be aware of Yvaine in any way, so when she later questions Sal to see if Yvaine's on the cart, Sal 'truthfully' says no.
  • The second half of Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys introduces a new point-of-view character named Nik Rimers. He awakens aboard an alien ship and can't remember who he is. He even has trouble recalling some concepts and has to relearn some things. After he makes it back to his people, they scan his brain and find no traces of his memories. They assume that whatever means of interrogation the aliens employed, they likely involved ripping the information out of the brain in such a way as to leave nothing behind. It eventually turns out that "Nik" is actually the same point-of-view character as before, but turned into a Manchurian Agent with the help of a shapeshifting symbiote (to alter his appearance to that of the real Nik, who's dead) and a living computer to temporarily erase his memory. The goal was to infiltrate the Geometer society as one of their own in order to see if they would make good allies to humanity.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Legacy of the Force, Jacen Solo discovers a method of short-term memory erasure, which he uses to hide from his apprentice, and others, memories that would point to his being a Sith Lord. It's called "rubbing".
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Dalinar Kholin (one of the four main protagonists) once visited the Nightwatcher, an enigmatic entity that will grant anyone who visits her some minor boon in exchange for exacting an approximately equal cost of her choosing. As a result, all memories of his late wife have been erased, and even her name just sounds like *sssh* when someone else says it. It's not made clear until the third book whether this was the price or the boon. As it turns out it was both the boon and the price; he asked the Nightwatcher for forgiveness for a terrible act he committed that got his wife killed, and the guilt of which was tearing him apart and leaving him a weak, drunken wreck. The Nightwatcher was unable to provide this, and instead her "mother," the Shard Cultivation chose to intervene by erasing the memories of his wife and the horrible act that cost her life. However, Dalinar would eventually have to face these memories again after he had grown strong enough to deal with them.
  • Discussed in Summer in Orcus. The protagonist knows that Trapped in Another World stories often end with the protagonist being made to forget the whole thing, and is determined that she doesn't want it to happen to her, even after Baba Yaga points out that it means having memories she will never be able to discuss with anyone else for the rest of her life.
  • The last three books of the Sword of Truth series hinge on a spell that makes the whole world forget that one of the main characters ever existed, including fabricating memories to compensate for events she was present for or even responsible for and it makes people forget she exists right when they are looking at her. To the point of being able to literally walk naked down a crowded camp and almost no-one looking twice. Because of a contamination in the spell, though, it starts to unravel the world of magic as a whole.
  • In Those That Wake, everyone that ever knew Laura doesn't remember her at all, including her parents.
    • In the sequel, What We Become, Laura can't remember a thing about the previous book, and everyone she knows remembers her like nothing had happened.
  • Premise of the 1973 spy thriller The Tightrope Men. The protagonist wakes up in a hotel room in Oslo, not only unable to remember who he is, but with an entirely different face and identity. It turns out that he was kidnapped, brainwashed, and cosmetically altered to cover the abduction of the scientist he resembles. The only thing keeping him sane is that he still can remember some things, like his name, from his previous life — the brainwashing was a hastily-done "butcher's job". The author Desmond Bagley said he thought up the most terrifying circumstance you could find yourself in and then wrote the novel around it.
  • In Simon Hawke's Time Wars series, the 27th Century time travellers have a Laser-Guided Amnesia technique they use on contemporary people who have been involved with them. However, in The Nautilus Sanction, which involves the Big Bad stealing a Russian nuclear sub, equipping it with a time machine and bringing Jules Verne on board, they decide that giving Verne amnesia might interfere with the creative mind, and so they arrange to keep an eye on his subsequent work.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, the nix makes Jenny forget Jack. Later, the potion to put Jenny into a delusion is called Lethe water; though she breaks through, that may be her power as the May Queen. In the Dénouement, Jack has forgotten until he meets her.
  • In the 13th century Völsunga saga, the evil queen Grimhild serves an oblivion potion to the hero Sigurd that makes him forget his fiancé Brynhild, but nothing else.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In Memory, Chief of Imperial Security Simon Illyan's implanted eidetic memory chip breaks down and has to be removed before it will kill him. Though he doesn't suffer any retrograde amnesia, for him to suddenly go from perfect memory to normal memory is treated as something almost as bad, and he does suffer from a period of anterograde amnesia for several weeks as his brain has to "relearn" how to memorize things for itself.
    • In Shards of Honor Bothari is given a brutal drug-aided memory-suppression to remove politically inconvenient memories (mutinying and murdering his commanding officer, who thoroughly deserved it). He manages to hold on to a few memories, however.
      • Elena Visconti, a POW who had been raped and tortured by both Bothari and his CO, had her memories removed because the surgeons felt sorry for her. Of course, when she got home the psych officers promptly removed the blocks. Twenty years later, she's still a bitter, angry wreck. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • This is inflicted on Grey Knight aspirants, of all their lives before they became Grey Knights, as a means of protecting them against Chaos. In Ben Counter's Grey Knights, Alaric explains that he had been taught that it would be done to him, but he doesn't remember being taught it. Then, none of them have ever succumbed to Chaos, so it did have its benefits.
    • In James Swallow's Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, when Sachiel discovers Inquisitor Stele communing with a daemon, they inflict amnesia on him.
    • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Traitor General, Sturm's "mind-lock" prevents him from remembering his life before his capture, though he has formed memories since.
    • In the Ravenor trilogy, Kara Swole learns that Carl Thonius is possessed by the daemon Slyte. He tries to buy her silence by curing her cancer with his daemonic powers, and when that doesn’t work, he suppresses her memories of the truth. She eventually remembers, but by that point it’s too late.
  • Sharon Farber's chilling short story "When the Old Man Waves the Banner" is built on anterograde amnesia, induced with brain surgery; this being the only way the rebels can send an assassin to kill a dictator who can telepathically detect and deflect assassins. The protagonist has all his memories up to the operation, but can no longer recall recent events beyond the past 10 seconds or so. Against expectations, he survives after the assassination, with unfortunate consequences.
  • George Martin's Wild Cards series features inducing amnesia as an Ace power:
    • The Astronomer, on top of his already impressive list of mind-related abilities, can or suggest to do so:
      • He has removed all memories of his own pre-Wild Card life from himself, as he probably perceived those as a weakness.
      • He offers Roulette to wipe the memories of giving birth to a hideous still-born joker baby, although channeling this traumatic memory actually powers her Ace - killing men during intercourse. She is fine with losing her Ace and forgetting the "career" as Ace assassin.
      • Demise was going to die by drawing the Black Queen, but was saved by the experimental Drumpf cure, although this resulted in a rather unusual Wild Card. Demise's Ace now includes very limited projecting telepathy - he can project the memories of death to stun, shock or kill. Similarly to Roulette, the Astronomer offers Demise to wipe those memories as a severance pay of sorts - this would make Demise a much happier and much less dangerous Ace.
    • Modular Man can wipe his own memory, being a Ridiculously Human Robot. He has good reasons to do so: his creator, Dr. Travnicek, built Mod' Man in the image of a "fully functional" male supermodel, and uses Mod' Man's memory cache of said functionality for porn.
  • In the historical novel Wings of Dawn: Thomas. Granted, he hasn't been to the Holy Lands since he was very young.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A World Called Maanerek", the hero had his mind blanked to see what would happen in another culture. Then it was blanked again and the original restored. Turns out it wasn't as neat as they thought — he remembers something both ways.
  • In John C. Wright's The Orphans of Chaos, the five child leads are repeatedly targeted by Laser-Guided Amnesia whenever they discover their pasts, who their captors are, or how to remove the Restraining Bolt each of them has.
    • Wright's The Golden Age opens with Phaethon first learning that he did something so disgraceful that he ought to be ashamed to show his face, and being urged by a Neptunian to flee at once to them, so they can repair his damaged memory and personality. Things progress from there until the plot verges on a Gambit Pileup.
  • Subverted in The Wrong Reflection by Gillian Bradshaw. The Hero wakes up not knowing his own face or history and not fully able to operate in society. He needs help in figuring out that he has basic human rights and in one example, doesn't know what an 'oak tree' is. He knows science inside and out but the concept of 'muzzling' is a mystery.
  • Xanth: In Question Quest, Humphrey tells Lacuna that when Rose went to hell in a handbasket, he took 100 years worth of Lethe water to forget her, figuring he'd be dead and with her again by the time it wore off.


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