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41. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Geoffrey Hart Externalities
42. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Ville V. Kokko God Is Alive
43. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Richard A. Shury The Formula
44. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Additional Information
45. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Tyler W. Kurt The Alpha-Dye Shirt Factory
46. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 5
Kolby Granville From The Editor
47. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
From the Publisher
48. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
Abra Staffin-Wiebe In Their Image
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Religion, and the desire to find purpose, and often paramount to culture. In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a priest from earth is sent to another planet to continuing the mission work of his predecessor. The planet is inhabited by “teddies” a people with a deep spiritual faith and a belief that it is only by finding and performing one’s life purpose can they serve God’s role. Those that are unable to find their purpose are willingly put to death so that, according to their belief system, they can be reincarnated and make a new attempt at finding their purpose. The visiting human religious leader is appalled by this religious belief, and the religious culture. He goes against the community by helping those that a poor and hungry. This goes against the culture as the teddies see those that are poor or hungry and serving their purpose; they were born to live hungry and poor. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.
49. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
Marie Anderson Metaphors
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To what degree can race relations, driven by media perception or inadvertent errors in speaking, be overcome by personal, positive, interactions? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a retired, white, widowed woman lives in a predominately black neighborhood. Her African-American husband is long dead and she has made every effort to integrate herself into her black community. She is longtime friends with her neighbors, particularly the 16-year-old boy, Zion, who comes over daily to give her dog a diabetes shot and assist her with chores around the house to make extra money. However, as the Black Lives Matter protests escalate in the community, the narrator increasingly becomes the target of hate, sometimes for no reason, sometimes because of her thoughtlessness. Her relationship with Zion continues to falter until he sheepishly takes the side of those in the community and separates all ties with the narrator. He returns the various gifts she has given him over his life because he wishes to leave his childhood behind and take up the fight against oppression. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.
50. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
Tyler W. Kurt Bunny Racing (Children's Story)
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Are rules written, or cultural? If you are taking the same rule-breaking advantages that everyone else is taking, thus making you equal to everyone else, are you actually cheating? In this work of philosophical short story fiction written for children, the story revolves around two rabbits. The rabbits enter the annual rabbit race as they believe they are the fastest rabbits in the world. They lose the race, only to find out after the race that the winning rabbits are using forbidden, performance enhancing, carrots. The following year one of the two rabbits decides to use the performance enhancing carrots, while his friend refuses. The enhanced rabbit wins the race year after year, becomes famous, and uses his rabbit celebrity to help worthy causes. The non-enhanced friend continues to race, but is never able to win. Finally, out of pride and frustration, he turns on his friend and the entire field of competitors for being in violation of the race rules. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.
51. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
David Shultz Rainbow People Of The Glittering Glade
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How do you judge the value of others; does society have the right to judge and exclude community members they feel are not living up to their full potential and/or are not benefiting the community? How do you judge value? In this work of philosophical short fiction, the story is told from the perspective of emissary who is sent by the kingdom to find a community in the middle of a shifting sand desert that is rumored to violate the fundamental laws of slavery, human sacrifice, and to worship false gods. A member of his group is injured while looking for the community. As the get closer to the community they find life-like statues of people in the desert. Some statues are moving, and repeating the same task in a loop, as they get closer to the community. Upon arrival, they are aided by the people and learn that the community has a strange disease that causes them to start turning to stone after puberty. The only cure is to be judged worthy by the community to go before their crystal god, to consume one of the people that has been turned to stone, and thus receive the anecdote to the disease. The traveling party is deemed worthy, and given the chance to take part in the ritual and escape death. One member refuses on religious grounds, and willingly accepts the stone-ification process. The leader of the group “goes native” and opts to live in the community forever. The third member of the group returns the original kingdom with a letter from the leader explaining what has happened. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.
52. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
David James Peterson And Joy Shall Overtake Us As A Flood
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Are our choices in life, and throughout all time, predetermined, or is there the ability to make different, and better, choices with additional information? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the main character is an older man who has been disfigured and has, generally, had a horrible life. He is brought into a government facility because they have discovered that he met his older self when he was younger, thus establishing that he must now be sent back in time to take part in the action he has already experienced as his younger self. The government agency explains that time travel does not create a multi-verse, but rather a single chain of events through infinity that has all already happened. So, you cannot go back in time to save Lincoln, because Lincoln was never saved. The main character lies to the agency and decides, while back in time, he will try to warn his childhood self away from the errors of his life. While talking to his childhood self the narrator makes realizations about the younger version of himself and the differences between memory and truth. He also attempts to warn his younger self, but as the government agency made clear, he is unable to do this because, had he been able to do it, he would have experienced it being done when he was younger. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.
53. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
Additional Information
54. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
David Rich The Crate
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How is personal pride, the backlash against political correctness, and the desire to be “better” than those around you, helpful or harmful to society? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the narrator lives in a divided society. She lives in the American Political Union, a community that has worked hard to stamp out all comparisons between its members so that no one will feel bad about their relative attractiveness, or intelligence. In fact, people are required to move about the city in mobile crates, thus hiding their appearance. Furthermore, it is deemed culturally taboo to brag or express higher value in intellectual accomplishments. The main character, an intelligent student, convinces her friend to jump the border into the Old American Republic, a community where people are judged, sorted, compared, and it is almost impossible to interact with those of higher orders than yourself. The girls escape to the Old American Republic only to find that judging takes many different forms, and that happiness for those that view themselves as superior is not as easily found as is always expected. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.
55. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 1 > Issue: 6
Kolby Granville From The Editor
56. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Shano Naylor Boomchee
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At what point in a date do you owe the other party the duty to inform them you are engaged? Is marriage an exercise in love, or practicality? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the law school student narrator working at a summer factory job decides to set up her shy female friend, Susie, with her boyfriend’s shy brother, Barry. They go on a double date and everything seems to be going fine. Only later does the narrator and her boyfriend find out that Barry is engaged to a mail-order bride from Southeast Asia that will be arriving shortly. The shy Barry, it turns out, wanted to “practice” going on a date before his new wife arrived. The law student narrator is embarrassed, and struggles with the moral duty both she, and Barry, owe to Susie.
57. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Bryan Starchman His Neighbor's Wife
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What is fair and equitable justice? Is the point of justice to deter crime, to punish those that commit crime, or to educate criminals so they can integrate successfully back into society? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the country has chosen to adopt the “Law Of Vindication.” If a drunk driver hits and kills someone with their car, their punishment is to be hit and killed with a car. The same reciprocal punishments exist for all serious crimes. Furthermore, it is a crime to not assist the government, when necessary, in providing the reciprocal punishment. The parents of a murdered child MUST murder the child of their killer. In this story, the narrator is in an unhappy marriage and decides his best chance of getting away with killing his wife is to kill his neighbor’s wife and wait for the law of retribution to require that his wife be killed as punishment. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned, and the law is interpreted differently than he expects.
58. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
From the Publisher
59. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Kolby Granville From the Editor
60. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
André Lopes Believing in Ghosts
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What does it mean to be alive? At what point does artificial intelligence know enough to be alive? Does the Turing test even matter? If we want the best government policy possible, does it matter if it comes from a computer? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Rain is hired to do cyber-security for Presidential candidate Mr. Booker. There is a cyber-attack into Booker’s computer network and Rain is called to answer for the breach. In the process of digging into the data, Rain finds out that Booker is an actor, what is known in society as a “ghost,” and that all of the policy and speeches he has been given are being written by a sophisticated artificial intelligence using polling and other data. He says, literally, the perfect things at the perfect times, to the perfect audience. While artificial people, like news reporters, bloggers, actors, and influencers, are slowly becoming standard in this near future story, the idea of a politician being nothing more but an actor serving as a vessel for AI is unprecedented. Before Rain can decide what to do with her newfound information she is framed and is forced to use all her computer skills just to keep herself out of jail.