Forgetting as a defence mechanism
Sinopticon is an anthology of Chinese Sci-Fi. I like Chengdu writer A Que’s Flower of the Other Shore. It is a funny Zombie story that has guest appearances from the author and a famous Hollywood actor. The Zombies or “stiffs” here can communicate with each other via sign language. They sometimes wander into the places where they used to live before the outbreak.
Old Jim puts the photo next to my face, takes another look and nods his free hand. “I can’t see it now, but you were quite handsome when you were alive.” He points at the girl in the photograph. “Who’s this?” In the photo, the girl is half a head shorter than me and leaning into my embrace. We’re standing by the sea and the light of the setting sun is in her eyes, which are also shining bright. I look carefully but can“t recall anything about her. Her beauty is beyond doubt, though. I shake my head, and stow the photograph away. “I’ll tell you later, when I remember.”
“It doesn’t matter who. We’re all just walking corpses. For us, memory is just another kind of virus, one even more deadly and that would torment us more than the Hunger. Forgetting who we are is a defence mechanism for Stiffs. Don’t resist this defence: don’t remember.” Old Jim’s signs are always full of philosophical meaning.