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"What I have in my stories is ethics. Ethics and morality are very different cups of tea. I adhere to a very strict rigor of personal ethics and I demand it of those around me as well."
- Harlan Ellison

Mindwipe  
  A process that selectively and effectively erases human memory.  

"My first mindwipe technique was a very clumsy and primitive thing. I could not erase a memory pattern, but I could, in a sense, erase its retrieval code. The memory remained in the skull, but the mind could not access it. I redoubled my efforts, because I wanted direct access to the memory itself..."

"I could remove twenty-four hours from your mind, and put your memory on hold... To dub off a copy of those twenty-four hours' worth of memories would require much more equipment, power and time. To play my memories into your skull would take nearly twice as much as all three..."

"...I would have to wait several hours, until the information has had time to soak into long-term storage. And any information that your mind's metaprogramming elected not to store would be lost."

From Mindkiller, by Spider Robinson.
Published by Holt, Rhinehart and Winston in 1982
Additional resources -

I like the method detailed in the first paragraph; Robinson had obviously been reading the microcomputer magazines of the day. When you erase a computer file using the interface provided with your computer software, you don't erase the file itself. You erase the reference to the file in the directory track; the file is still there, but your computer cannot find it.

The final references to having to wait shows a nice appreciation on Robinson's part for needing to wait for organic processes (information storage in the human brain) to complete, as opposed to the far quicker process used in electronic storage systems.

Compare to the mind destroyer from Cordwainer Smith's 1961 story A Planet Named Shayol.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mindkiller
  More Ideas and Technology by Spider Robinson
  Tech news articles related to Mindkiller
  Tech news articles related to works by Spider Robinson

Mindwipe-related news articles:
  - Headband Telepathy And Robinson's Mindkiller

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