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1. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
From the Publisher
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2. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Rebecca Dueben The Truth As We Know It
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How should adults help children who are being bullied? How is childhood trauma adapted into adult relationships? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Celia has been married six years to Jason, an ex-military man 20 years her senior. Celia’s child, Theo, is the result of Celia’s abusive father raping her as a teen. Theo is a short, overweight, awkward child who is teased at school. Jason continues to try to tease him and create experiences to “make a man out of him.” One day, when Jason and Theo go fishing, Theo is laughed at once too often and pushes Jason off the bridge, to his death. Now Celia is left to decide if she tells the truth about what happened, or tries to frame the death as a slip and fall accident.
3. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Ty Lazar For Your Safety
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How do you know if the government-imposed limits on personal freedom “for your protection” have gone too far? Are there certain risks the government shouldn’t protect people from? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Zoe gets a knock on her door from the Department of Public Health. They have detected increased biochemical signatures that lead them to believe she has been having sexual intercourse without a properly filed Intimate Partnership Agreement (IPA). The IPA’s are for her protection to ensure that any potential partners are disease free. Initially, she denies the accusations, but the evidence from her Livewell stream is overwhelming. This time, it’s just a fine, but if it happens again the punishments will get more severe, all the way up to having points deducted from her social confidence rating. The government employees leave and Zoe heads back into the bedroom to find her one-night stand has committed suicide.
4. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Tim Sharp The Growing And Weeding of Dandelions
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Can the stakes ever be so high that genocide of a species is a reasonable option? Is this ever the kind of choice you should put to a democratic vote? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a civilization-sized space ship has been flying to populate the surrounding solar systems. They start with a skeleton crew, use ship resources and grow their population over generations, then arrive at a new planet. They drop off the extra people, replenish their raw resources, and do it all again. All is well until a weak radio signal makes them realize they are heading towards a planet that likely already has sentient alien life. If they don’t stop, their population will burst at the seams in the ship and they will likely run out of resources before the next solar system. If they do stop, they are likely to, over time, subjugate the indigenous population. They have just weeks to decide if they plan to make a course correction.
5. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Daren Schuettpelz Prometheus Bound in ISS
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Is there an appropriate way for those in power to blow off steam? Are teachers ever allowed to speak in a derogatory manner about students? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Ethan is an intelligent loner high school Junior. His sister has gone off to the Air Force, and his mother recently died while driving drunk. One day he is approached by two of the popular girls in school who offer him $100 to hack into the school computer system and rig the Cotillion Queen voting results. He agrees, steals a teacher’s password, and logs into the teacher intranet to change the election results. While in the system he finds various “teacher only” discussion threads. In the threads, teaches talk candidly about which students they like and dislike. They also crack jokes about students, and generally say off-color remarks, including a few about Ethan. Ethan screen captures the conversations and emails them to the school and parents. Consequently, he is serving the remainder of the school year in In-School-Suspension.
6. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Alexander B. Joy Damnatio Memoriae
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Are we just the sum of our memories? Is erasing all the memories of a person more, or less humane, than the death penalty? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a member of the diplomatic corps recounts the history of Etescanate people and the evolution of their implantation of the death penalty over the centuries. Initially, the death penalty was a drawn out, painful and public affair. As time progressed, it remained public, but became more humane. With the advent of new technologies, it was moved indoors as a private affair where electrical shocks or injections were used. Now, the Etescanate people believe they have found the most humane form of capital punishment, complete memory erasure. Those that are found guilty of the most serious crimes are given a chemical cocktail that completely erases their minds of their entire past. There is one caveat to this punishment, while the government has outlawed killing by the state, it still leaves open the possibility of killing by others and, in some cases, the convicted opt to be killed privately instead.
7. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
J. Weintraub Selling to the Goyim
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8. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
David Whitaker Choose
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9. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Additional Information
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10. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 12
Kolby Granville From the Editor
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11. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
From the Publisher
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12. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
A. M. Entracte Rose-Tinted Glasses
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What do we lose when we leave childhood and become adults? Is this a good thing? Can we, at least for a moment, turn back time and see the world again as a child? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Becca and Adam are members of the Fairytale Fellowship, a group of children who can still see the magic in the world and protect the world from wrong-doing magical creatures. Becca and Adam find special glasses that allow anyone, even adults, to see the invisible magical creatures around them. They rush to get the glasses to the Fellowship, but are stopped by a Faun who steals the glasses and forces them to play a game to win the glasses back. They win the game, but valuable time has passed. Becca and Adam have aged out and experienced "The Shift" all children experience into adulthood that makes them unable to see magical things. Their worst fear has happened, they have grown up.
13. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Michael Barron Beyond Rose Street
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What is required for us to summon a new life? Are we required to leave the people in our old life behind? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Tyler and the narrator are childhood friends now in their early 20’s stuck in an out of the way, nothing, town. The narrator has a chance to go to college, but Tyler talks him out of it and they both continue to live at their parent’s houses. One day, Tyler finds a strange piece of paper with a spell that opens up a shadow portal to a "new life." They perform the spell, however, when Tyler is halfway through the portal the candle blows out and traps him half in this world, half in the other. He’s stuck. For months, the narrator visits in secret, feeding Tyler, until he is finally able to reopen the portal. When he does Tyler continues walking through to his new life, leaving the narrator behind.
14. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Geoffrey Hart Exodus
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What makes a "religious" holiday? Does the combination of ritual, culture, and family custom all merge together to create "religion?" Does it even matter if the historical basis for religious stories are false? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the spaceship computer AI wakes up a family in deep space hibernation to give them time to prepare for, and celebrate, Passover. There are many situations unique to being in space that must be overcome; determining the right time period when taking into consideration time dilation, not to mention missing ingredients for traditional foods. Also, they are short two people of the requisite ten and ask the computer AI to "convert" and serve the role of two additional Jewish people. Awkwardly, the computer reminds them that some of their traditional stories are not supported by archeological evidence. This all begs important questions about the complicated weaving of history, faith, culture, and family custom in religious ceremony.
15. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Ville V. Kokko Have a Nice Eternity™
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A modern twist on "Pascal’s Bargain" asks the question, "If you could hire a company to improve your chances of a happy eternity, why wouldn’t you do so?” In this work of philosophical short story fiction, science has discovered that people pass to an eternal place after death and, 87% of the time, that place is blissful. However, the experience you have at the moment of your death might determine if you are in the 13% that spend an eternity in trauma. That’s where "Gates Of Heaven" comes in for Pasi and Tuomi. They are considered paying the fee for a "planned death" at the "Gates Of Heaven" facility to ensure an eternity of happiness. With eternity is on the line, why would you leave the moment of your death to chance?
16. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Marin Biliškov Cruel Means, Bitter Ends
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When, if ever, is it okay to let evil win? Should all wars be fought to the bitter end, or is ending the suffering of your people more important? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the Prime Minster is a long-time military man sworn to fighting the evil aggression of the Theocratic Republic of New Anglia. The war has been going on a long time. As a military leader, he ran on the platform of ending the war in his first term. He is elected and brings his most trusted military advisors with him to office. Albert was one of those trusted advisors he brought with him. Days before a large military operation, Swift Wind, is about to take place, Albert makes a startling discovery. There is a leak in the President’s office, the Angelians know of the coming invasion. Albert rushes in to tell the Prime Minster who promptly locks him in the bathroom and tells him he is the one who is the leak. Swift Wind is meant to fail. The Prime Minster has decided that the only way to end the suffering is to lose the war.
17. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Rebecca L. Christophi In Defense of the Harvest
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What rights should prisoners on death row have to their body, or to their organs? In this work of philosophical short fiction, the narrator tells the story of his own family that lead to the law that allowed organs to be harvested from criminals (both living and after being put to death) to save the lives of the most needy. In the story, the narrator and his family have two children, the older Rupert, and the far younger Sadie. Rupert returns to live with the family and continues to show strong violent tendencies. He threatens to hurt the family and there is a plan to ask him to move out. Rupert overhears the plans, goes into a rage, and cuts out Sadie’s eyes with a knife. Later, under the new law, Sadie is provided a new set of eyes from a criminal; likely Rupert.
18. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Margaret Karmazin Prevention
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Would you murder your own child to protect his classmates? In this work of philosophical short fiction, Sharon is divorced from her husband, Karl. Karl has a new, younger wife, and she is taking care of their 17-year-old son, Ethan. Their older daughter, Haley, is off starting her own successful life. Ethan, however, is struggling with life. On a fateful day, Ethan forgets his backpack after being dropped off for school. His mother searches the laptop and finds a discussion where he, and a few others, have set a date to shoot up the school. She checks his bedroom and finds the guns described in the exchange as well as drugs. Sharon doesn’t want to risk the lives of the classmates or Haley’s future. The next morning she uses Ethan’s own drugs to spike his coffee and cause him to overdose and die. She hides his guns and the laptop that proves what he was planning to do. Her son is dead, the school is safe, and her daughter’s reputation remains untarnished for a bright future. She considers her endeavor a success.
19. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Additional Information
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20. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 11
Kolby Granville From the Editor
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