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EP134: Me and My Shadow

By Mike Resnick.
Read by Stephen Eley.
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Unauthorized Autobiographies and Other Curiosities, 1984.
All stories by Mike Resnick.
All stories read by Stephen Eley.

Of course, even if we had met before, they couldn’t recognize me now. I know. I’ve spent almost three years trying to find out who I was before I got Erased — but along with what they did to my brain, they gave me a new face and wiped my fingerprints
clean. I’m a brand new man: two years, eleven months, and seventeen days old. I am (fanfare and trumpets, please!) William Jordan. Not a real catchy name, I’ll admit, but it’s the only one I’ve got these days.

I had another name once. They told me not to worry about it, that all my memories had been expunged and that I couldn’t dredge up a single fact no matter how hard I tried, not even if I took a little Sodium-P from a hypnotist, and after a few weeks I had to agree with them–which didn’t mean that I stopped trying.

Erasures never stop trying.

Rated R. Contains violent crime, violent imagery, and themes of violence.

Comments (21)

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  1. Kurt says:

    I think you spelled Mike Resnick wrong in the by-line :P

  2. Quinn says:

    Steve’s intro brings to mind Durkheim’s distinction between mechanical and organic societies. It’s interesting that our connections are increasingly formed by our leisure activities as opposed to just knowing our co-workers and neighbors.

  3. SFEley says:

    Cut-and-paste error on the author’s name fixed. Thanks, Kurt, for bringing it to my attention.

  4. Kurt says:

    np, i only noticed it when the authors name and the publication date gave me a case of cognitive dissonance.

  5. Jacob says:

    Is it strange that I find my-self slightly aroused by a story were after searching so heard to find something. You discover what you have been searching for is right there with your own head, and even more than that a partner with which you share something you both find so much pleasure in…As a matter of fact I only found one thing in this episode objectionable, and that is because of what the intro made me feel. One of the bad things about not having to be polite, or conform in your local community, because no one seems to care about what in going on right in-front of them. This is from a perspective of twice-daily commute that seems to be filled with ever more impolite and incompetent peers, but maybe I’m just projecting…

    Thanks Steve, as always you have succeeded in bringing thought provoking fiction,
    Jacob

  6. Morrow says:

    Not really my cup of tea.

  7. Chas. says:

    I’m sorry to say that I did not like this one at all. It was very well written, just not my cup of tea. I really think this story should have been in the horror fead & not part of the main feed. I was really bothered by the depiction of murders, & quite francly that’s not why I listen to Escape Pod.

  8. Pete S says:

    I’m with you 100% Chas. I actually checked my feed to be sure I wasn’t listening to pseudopod by mistake.

    In particular since there was no “WARNING” at the start, which Steve usually gives us so we can bail out if we’re not in the mood for that kind of thing.

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  10. phignewton says:

    i suppose its hard t do stories about dis-asociated psychopaths, assa reader[listener] one feels cheated of not having any reason to care. if the estimmable writer had given it some focus… the horror of violence… the narrators lack of emotional involvment with society.. the appealing nature of little voices.. anything would have done.

  11. Robert says:

    I’ve had a bit of trouble finding escapepods i’ve liked for a while but this one makes me glad I stayed.

  12. 小者 says:

    I’m a chinese who is not good at english, so I have to listen three or more times to get the main idea of the story, but I think it’s enjoyable to listen to escapepod, thank you for for your programs~

  13. Cecilia says:

    I’m not a fan of horror fiction, but I’m glad I stayed for this one. It felt like a probable follow-up to Demolished Man, which I had just re-read, after a long time, and for the first time in its original english version (as opposed to a probably mediocre spanish translation). Lucky coincidence!

  14. Gab says:

    This was a very enjoyable story.

  15. AndyD says:

    I have to say that stories like this remind me why I favor capitol punishment.

    Not the fiction stories, but the true life ones. I really don’t think that things like prison or even wiping someones memory can really change them.

    They either have to want to change and be truly remorseful, or they need to be removed from society permanently.

    Since we can’t know if someone is truly remorseful, then death is the only other option.

    Why is this guy’s one life worth more than the 19+ lives that he cut short?

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

  16. chornbe says:

    I really enjoyed this story. well told, I enjoy darker characters, especially those who aren’t afraid of their darkness. I prefer my darker characters to be the heroes (Batman “Dark Knight”, Wolverine, Punisher, etc…) but I’ll take them where I can get them. Overall I like the idea of this world, too, where a second chance means fully and wholly turning your back on your old life… for most, anyway.

  17. Saturn5 says:

    Sheesh, Andy! Your argument in favour of capital punishment can be turned exactly around. Anyway, death isn’t the only way of removing someone from society, is it?

    I enjoyed this story. Not really sure why some found it horror.

  18. Chas. says:

    I don’t know why this story bothered me when most others haven’t. the Halloween episode “Immortal Sin” didn’t bother me a bit. So i guess maybe I’m being hypocritical. I don’t know.

  19. I think this probably was better suited to Pseudopod, but I enjoyed it. Interesting that PP also ran a memory-and-murder oriented story recently.

  20. scatterbrain says:

    Finally a nice slice of psychological dystopia, Resnick style!

  21. […] Mike Resnick’s “Me and my Shadow,” read by Stephen Eley, William Jordan is one of the erased—a man convicted of crimes he cannot […]