by Eric Schwitzgebel
read by Tatiana Grey
First published in Unlikely Story
“— which suggests possible applications, if the cobbler is much younger. Don’t you think, Miss Professor?”
The Dauphin sat twelve rows back — teenage heir apparent to the throne, playing at Academy student — smug smile, a ring of vacant seats around him, his speech casually slurred, ostentatiously humble with plain quill and standard-issue student gown (expensively pressed).
I intended my gaze to crucify him. Softness to students is a graybeard luxury; a young woman can only be hard. All the more so, I was sure, in this particular case. I nursed silence to the edge of discomfort, coiling the spring. “It is a thought experiment that depends on immaterial souls transferred by miracle,” I said. “There can be no practical applications.”
I paused again, as if gathering my thoughts. “Or do you perhaps mistake yourself for God?”
Click here to read more.
Eric Schwitzgebel is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, and a cooperating faculty member in UCR’s program for Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science. (Yes, you can get a PhD in Speculative Fiction at UC Riverside.) His short fiction has appeared in F&SF, Clarkesworld, Nature, The Dark, and elsewhere. He has published bunches of academic articles and op-eds on what it means to believe something; on people’s failure to understand their own character and experiences; on robot rights, group minds, and A.I. consciousness; on ancient Chinese philosophy; on whether we might all be living in a giant computer simulation; and on the mediocre moral behavior of professional ethicists. He blogs about all this stuff and more at The Splintered Mind.
Tatiana Grey is a critically acclaimed actress of stage, screen, and the audio booth. She has been nominated for dozens of fancy awards but hasn’t won a single damned thing. She does, however have a feature film hitting the festival circuit called Serious Laundry. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. See more about Tatiana at www.tatianagrey.com.