Films about memory loss have always intrigued me. My favorite memory-loss movie, Memento, portrays a man who uses notes and tattoos to hunt down his wife’s murderer. Fifty Last Dates puts a sad comical spin on memory loss. But the BEST memory-adventure film is The Bourne Identity where a man eludes assassins while recovering from amnesia.
When I researched the subject for Daystealer, I knew I had to set my own memory-loss perimeters for a being who had lived fifty lives. I researched many types of memory loss. Short-term and working memory lasts for only 20-30 seconds. Intermediate-term memory remains for five to eight hours, but long-term memory? Indefinitely. Since Daystealer is a fantasy novel, I didn’t have to stay within the constraints of memory loss as we know it. I could make up my own Nadirian amnesia.
Trinidad doesn’t really lose her memories. They’re stolen. Like Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity, she retains some skills like ninja-type fighting and knowledge of technology but loses facts she gained as a doctor and scientist. When she wakes, she remembers her childhood, her brother, even her guardian, but not much about her parents. She knows her brother has her memories, but doesn’t know how to find her home. Yet when she learns she has a “backup copy” in her brain, she uses any means possible to recover them. In the meantime she has to rediscover herself, for memories shape our identity.
If someone stole a memory from you–an event, a person, a particular day–would you be a different person? Which memory most affects your identity?
- The Side Effects: Memories (cycletolive.wordpress.com)