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In the George Orwell book Nineteen Eighty-Four, an Unperson is someone who has been vaporized. Vaporization is when a person is murdered by being turned into vapors. Not only has an unperson been killed; they have also been erased from society, the present, the universe, and existence. Such a person would be taken out of books, photographs, and articles so that no trace of them is found in the present anywhere – no record of them would be found. The point of this was that such a person would be gone from all citizens' memories, even friends and family. There is no Newspeak word for what happened to unpeople, therefore it is thoughtcrime to say an unperson's name or think of unpeople. This is like the Stalinist Soviet Party erasing people from photographs after death; this is an example of "real" unpeople.
A similar punishment, damnatio memoriae, was used in the Roman Empire. The Stalin-era Soviet Union also provided real-world examples of unpersons in its treatment of Leon Trotsky and other members of the Communist party who became politically inconvenient. In his 1960 magazine article "Pravda means 'Truth'", reprinted in Expanded Universe, Robert A. Heinlein argued that John Paul Jones and a mysterious May 15, 1960 cosmonaut had also received this treatment.