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1. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Vinícius Gadini Acceptance
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When should you try and change your fate, and when you should simply accept it? Is there useful peace in simply accepting your fate? In this work of fate-based ethics fiction, the narrator is walking down the street to the store when he sees a man neck deep in a muddy hole. He stops to try and help the man, but the man refuses, arguing the universe has put him in this hole, and it is not his place to go against the universe. The narrator tries to help the man out of the hole, but he fights back, refusing help. A lack of acceptance of your situation, the man argues, is what gives rise to strife and violence. He will be at peace and accepting of his situation. Slowly, the man’s head goes into the mud and he dies. The narrator walks on.
2. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Kolby Granville From The Editor
3. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Lynne Curry I Never
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What protections should a person of diminished capacity accused of murder have? Should intangibles be given consideration, or only facts? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, John is found by police on the side of the road pulling a knife from a woman’s chest. He is arrested, put in jail, and awaits trial. His attorney insists that he plead guilty, but John asserts his innocence and refuses to cave to pressure. Mandy, the Sherriff’s wife, brings him meals and is struck by his religious faith. She brings a reporter to talk to him to publish his side of the story. This brings an additional investigation from outside lawyers and brings to light additional information. The story ends with John going before the Grand Jury and telling his side of the story.
4. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Michael Klein Sort of Polarity
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Is it important to see and understand the perspectives of everyone in society, or is it better to live a life with less strife by spending your time with a select group of people? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the narrator wakes up one day to find his vision has started to blur. He tries to see an eye doctor, but appointments are backed up for months. It seems every human in the world is suffering from the same, new, affliction. Under this new disease, at certain distances, half of the population. The pattern isn’t related to race or gender, and seems entirely random, but does not change over time. But the problem is serious. Some husbands can’t see their wives. Some servers at restaurants can’t see their patrons. To solve the problem, and for safety, people start to group together that can see each other. This splits neighborhoods and restaurants as they focus on serving only people capable of seeing everyone in the community. The transition period is awkward, but in the end, everything gets worked out. Finally, scientists invent glasses to allow everyone to see each other, but it seems a waste at this point. Everything has been sorted out already; no need to see everyone as things are generally fine the way they are.
5. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Clare Diston Reginald’s Party
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Do we need our emotions, even are most negative ones, to grow from an experience? Is offering someone money for something you know they can’t refuse a type of stealing? Is it wrongly voyeuristic to want to experience someone else’s emotions? In this work of Gatsby-like philosophical short story fiction, Reginald is a member of the aristocracy with a strange habit. He buys and bottles the emotions of commoners. In fact, the night the story takes place, he is hosting a “tasting” for his aristocratic friends. They will sample emotions like Joviality, Joy, Remembrance, and Contentment. However, plans change when one of the guests arrives late, already a bit drunk, with a woman as his guest. While she is lower class, she does not shy away from asking to taste the strongest vintages in the wine cellar. As the night wears on, a conflict breaks out as the woman insults and chastises Reginald for buying the emotions of commoners and preventing them from feeling and processing their emotions properly.
6. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Anya Josephs Left To Lose
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To what degree is it appropriate to merge social networks with organizational goals in order to extract greater work from your volunteers? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a young girl hears a voice from behind that promises to fulfill her wishes, but at a price. First, she wishes her abusive father dead, but it comes at the price of falling asleep for a week. Later, she sacrifices her leg in order to prevent the harvest from failing. She finally leaves her home as payment for her parents getting the money from her marriage dowry, while she escapes the unwanted marriage. Homeless, she is discovered by a rebel group fighting against their tyrannical king. They learn about her power and, bit by bit, ask her to sacrifice herself to aid them in their fight. She falls in love with one of the men in the struggle and continues to give more of herself to the fight. She goes blind and loses an arm, all as payment to the voice for favors it will do for her, and for the struggle. Finally, the young girl is asked to make the ultimate sacrifice and pay for a favor from the voice with her life.
7. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
Joe Vasicek In The Beginning
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Would you rather live in complete happiness, or have knowledge of good and evil? In this allegorical work of philosophical short fiction, Adam lives in a biblical paradise. One day, a strange man in the garden, wearing a snake necklace, offers him a fruit from the tree of knowledge. He declines, saying “Father” has forbid him from eating it. Later, Eve comes to the garden as well. She is offered the same fruit and accepts. After eating the fruit she realizes she is in a stasis chamber on a space voyage that has gone wrong. She heads back into the computer-generated paradise to try and get Adam, the only other remaining member of the crew, out of stasis, by convincing him to eat the same apple she did.
8. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
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9. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
J.G. Willem Farewell, Odysseus
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What are the long-term implications of haves and have-not to genetic medical advances? Should medical services that can be afforded by one, be freely made available to all? Do gatekeeping technologies make it progressively harder for the poor to change their status in the world? In this work of philosophical short fiction, the Dios are a group of super humans who, because of their wealth, have, over generations, made mental and physical enhancements to themselves. Those changes have compounded over time, making them a different, and superior, race. The only humans left on earth are those who didn’t start the enhancement process generations ago. Some, however, sometimes agree to go to live on Mars with the Dios as their pets. The narrator is one such person, that is, until he starts to ask too many questions.
10. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 7
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11. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Verity Soul On Sale
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What good is a soul in the modern age? What would you lose by giving it up? In this work of ethics fiction, the narrator checks into a hotel run by the Devil so he can give the Devil his soul. The Devil visits him in his room and, at first, is confused. Doesn’t he want to trade it for fame, money, or immortality? Nope, he just wants to be rid of the thing; it’s more trouble than its worth, and doesn’t seem to serve a useful purpose in a modern society anyway. The Devil takes his soul, offers him dinner, and a free night at the hotel. The man wakes the next morning, refreshed, as a maid knocks on his door. She wants to leave the hotel, but doesn’t have the courage. He agrees to help her leave, but their project fails. He ends up leaving on his own.
12. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Kolby Granville From The Editor
13. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Joshua Hathaway The Rapture Module
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Is it the natural desire of humans to be happy, or do they desire something else? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Tucker mistypes a keystroke at his new job. However, his computer fixed his mistake and forces the correct answer to come out anyway. As he tries to explain what happened to his co-worker his boss comes by to tell him he is being given a promotion, even though he has only been at the company a few weeks. Later, at a coffee shop, he tries to order a drink he knows he doesn’t prefer, and the barista insists on selling him the drink he likes better. He then goes home to a wife that adores him. The problem is, Tucker is unhappy. He is unhappy because he feels he didn’t earn the promotion, and that he can’t make mistakes in Rapture, the artificial work where he is living. Everything will always go his way. This turns out to be not an ideal simulation, but a nightmare-like curse where nothing feels like it was earned or has value.
14. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
JR Sloan The Fortune Teller’s Confession
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When a trigger event is very likely to cause subsequent actions, are the subsequent actions still made freely? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, William, the town fortune teller, comes out to Jon’s farm. William confesses that he foresaw his affair with Jon’s wife, told her about it, then it happened. William also says he’s unable to see his future beyond this day, so he presumes this is the day Jon kills him. Jon, however, refuses to kill him until William eggs him on. Finally, infuriated, Jon kills William. He attempts to hide the body, but not before his wife comes home. She shoots him, but does not kill him, arguing she had no free will to prevent her response. Injured, Jon picks up the gun and must decide if he will kill himself, or his wife.
15. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Frances Howard-Snyder Human Contact
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How does perception of sexual assault confirm or create the reality? In this work of sex ethic short story fiction, Viola is a college student at a local party. She starts drinking at the party, and gets drunk. She strikes up a conversation with, and takes an interest in Greg, one of the fellow college students at the party. She drinks and dance into the night. Eventually, with her consent, her friends leave the party, leaving her to continue socializing with people at the party. She ends up meeting a guy and having drunken sex with him at the party. The next morning she meets up with a few of her female friends that question her about the previous night. At first, they chalk up her drunken sex as a “we’ve all been there” moment, however, her friends ask her to recount the night and eventually explain to her they think she was raped. Viola isn’t so sure, but she is starting to see their perspective.
16. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Jonathan Turner Leviathan
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Is Hobbes right, in that, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short?” Will resource scarcity always revert us to our most animalistic nature? In this work of space travel ethical short story fiction, the space cruise liner the narrator is on is hit by a rock. It is severely damaged and some of the crew is injured. They are slowly moving to their destination via “dead reckoning” but the ship will run out of water long before they arrive. At first, the captain decides to do a first round of killing, both by volunteers and by lottery, to save resources. Riots break out as a second lottery happens and water is rationed to just one liter per person, per day. The narrator is a second-class passenger on the ship, but largely built, so he volunteers to serve as security detail. He ends up killing a passenger who fights back during the lottery. As the situation worsens, gangs form on the ship. The narrator is brought in by a gang, but is later kicked out for being sympathetic to others. All seems lost when the ship’s doctor realizes he can filter the blood of the dead and use it to supplement their water supplies.
17. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Michele Koh Morollo Infrastructure
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Does a marriage tend to be more fulfilling and successful if the couple has a child? What are the right and wrong reasons for having a child? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Vita meets her friend (Judy) for brunch and tells her, at 45 years old, now that she is married, she is planning to have IVF so they can have a child. Judy is outwardly supportive, but knows that Vita has spoken her whole life about not wanting a child. Later, when the couples meet up for dinner Vita’s husband, Gerd, argues that a marriage can never be truly complete without a child; that a child allows couples to serve additional and more noble roles. Additionally, Gerd argues, children are the foundation and essence of marriage. Judy and Nathan disagree, but when their cat unexpectedly dies, they quickly go out to get a new one to replace it.
18. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
Varya Kartishai Hiro’s Festival: (Children’s Story)
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What do you need to be happy? Can changing your situation and responsibilities make you happy? In this children’s story of folk-lore short fiction, Hiro is a young boy that is feeling trapped. Because his father is the village headman, he had great duties and responsibilities. One unhappy day, Hiro hears a voice that asks him why he is so unhappy. He says he would like more time to himself. He is transformed into mouse so he can run in the fields. He is chased by a cat and realizes that is the better animal to become. He tries a day as a cat, and later as fox, but nothing seems to give him the happiness and freedom he desires. Each animal, it seems, has responsibilities. Finally, Hiro realizes that is place, and his duties, with his father and his tribe are something to be accepted and enjoyed.
19. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
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20. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 8
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