I am trying to remember the name of a short story someone told me about. Basically the premise was that things people don’t love or think about disappear; at first it’s bad things like trash but then people start to disappear so everyone becomes obsessed with asking people if they love them so they won’t disappear too.

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    Interesting. Some more clues may help someone remember the name of this story. Did you read it online, in a printed anthology, or in a magazine? If a magazine, then what magazines did you often read at the time? When did you read the story, and was it new then? Was it in English or some other language? Can you recall the cover art? Apr 22, 2020 at 12:14
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1 Answer 1


"Do You Love Me?" by Peter Carey

Things are mysteriously disappearing:

The next day the I.C.I building disappeared in front of a crowd of two thousand people. It took two hours. The crowd stood silently as the great steel and glass structure slowly faded before them.

It is only the things that are not loved that are disappearing:

The world, according to my father, was exactly like the human body and had its own defence mechanisms with which it defended itself against anything that either threatened it or was unnecessary to it. The I.C.I building and the I.C.I company had obviously constituted some threat to the world or had simply been irrelevant. That’s why it had disappeared and not because some damn fool god was waking up and rubbing his eyes.
“I don’t believe in god,” my father said. “Humanity is god. Humanity is the only god I know. If humanity doesn’t need something it will disappear. People who are not loved will disappear. Everything that is not loved will disappear from the face of the earth. We only exist through the love of others and that’s what it’s all about.

And the story ends with asking "do you love me?":

My mother looks across at me nervously, a card still in her hand. “Do you love me?” she asks.

Found by Googling scifi short story "not loved" disappear, which led me to a description of the story and the title, which I then searched for to find the actual story.

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    I edited this answer to replace the link with a link to the ISFDB page for the story. My edit won't become visible unless others upvote it. To me it seems kind of rude to the author to simply post a link to someone's blog where they cut and pasted the story. Different people can have different points of view on copyright, but in general I would try to respect the wishes of the author, and unless the author wants this kind of thing to happen, I wouldn't do it. Maybe Peter Carey could use some sales revenue from his anthology to pay his rent.
    – user2490
    Apr 22, 2020 at 20:52

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