The Unexpected Return of This Week’s Hypothetical!


You get wind of a unique dining experience: a chef has had his own penis and testicles surgically removed and frozen. Now he is planning a special meal where he will serve them up to interested diners. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

There is no law against cannibalism in the country where this is taking place and you can afford it. Would you go?

What if a close friend or member of your family intended to go; would it change your relationship with them?

For this one, I’m going to experiment with opening up comments again. Let’s see how awful the spam gets.


Second temporary return of This Week’s Hypothetical!


A friend comes to you with a question. They know a science fiction/fantasy author who has just won a tidy sum in a lottery–enough that they can quit their day job and write full time in any place in the world. They won’t be rich, but they can be comfortable. However, this FOAF writer has no idea where they should settle; they turned to their friend for advice, and the friend is turning to you.

Now, because the writer is sorta paranoid about how dangerous a sudden influx of money can be, your friend has promised not to reveal anything personal about this author: Their age, ethnicity, political leanings, gender, nothing. They have a family. They speak English. They’re American. Also, they’re open to living anywhere, not just the U.S.A.

Knowing so little about the person, where do you think is the best place in the world for an sf/f writer to live (low-Earth orbit is too pricy, but little else would be)? What factors should they consider? Community? Research materials? Government benefits/no government benefits? Food and healthy lifestyles? Proximity to conventions/NYC? Or doesn’t it really matter?

What advice would you give?

(Quick note because I think I should: I’m not planning to move in the near future and if I were I wouldn’t gather information through a hypothetical post. This is really just a hypothetical.)

The temporary return of “This Week’s Hypothetical!”


You are in the kitchen cutting some lunch meat for a sandwich[1] and you give yourself a serious cut on your thumb. You get blood on the cold cuts and on the bread, too. After cleaning and bandaging your injury, you return to the kitchen. There are blood spots on the meat and your bread is red and wet in one corner. Worse, you have no more fixings in the house to make another sandwich.

Do you throw it all out and make something else, or eat it anyway? Heck, you put your thumb into your mouth after you cut it just out of habit, but that bread looks like something from WARHOL’S DRACULA. Would you try to trim it somehow?

Eat the sandwich or not?

[1] If you don’t eat meat, pretend it’s some other ingredient. If you can’t eat gluten, pretend it’s GF bread. If you never eat sandwiches or cut your food or whatever, please don’t jump in to say why the hypothetical simply can’t apply to you, because that’s tedious.

This week’s hypothetical


You slip and bump your head on your bathroom sink, and suddenly you have the most amazing idea. You retreat to your basement and spend 24 hours building a crazy device out of household electronics, and when it’s finished your head is still clearing–you don’t even know what it is.

When you emerge with it the next day, you quickly discover that you’ve just build a mind-control device. When you speak through it, you can get people to do just what you want them to do, and they’re happy about it.

An amazing discovery! But could you make someone kill themselves, or kill others? How long does the effect last? You don’t know the answer to that.

How are you going to test the limits of your new device? And what are you going to do with it?

This week’s hypothetical


You are hanging out at an amazing science facility–something like Star Labs–and you’re holding in your hand a newly-developed antibiotics gun. It can inject a person with a special capsule that will slowly release a full course of antibiotics, then, once the course is done, the capsule itself is absorbed by the body. A full cure in one dose.

A friend of yours comes by–she’s a little drunk. She and her colleagues have been celebrating the creation of a time window, which would let you see into any place or time on the planet Earth, and also let you pick something up or send something back.

While you’re getting over your envy of the magnificence of their creation, your friend gets excited. She could open a time window and you could shoot a full course of antibiotics into anyone in history. You could cure John Keats of his tuberculosis, if you wanted!

You mention the dangers of changing history, and your friend suggests that would be honestly difficult. If you cured Typhoid Mary, yes, a whole lot of people would have lived rather than died, and that might change things. If you cured John Keats or Immanuel Kant, you would end up with some more interesting things to read. It’s perfectly safe with a careful choice!

Do you want to cure someone in the past? Who would it be, and when?

This week’s hypothetical


A British dude in a blue police box turns to and offers to take you anywhere you want in time and space. Yes, the TV show is real and the blue box is a TARDIS–except you don’t have to worry about unarmed speechifying in front of armed, violent aliens, since that’s just to add drama.

You can have three stops in time and space. Where do you want to go and what do you want to see?

This week’s hypothetical


You are staying in a remote log cabin for a weekend, completely alone and totally cut off from the wider world. You have a camera and a phone, but you need to hike for two hours down a wooded trail to get reception.

On the first morning of your stay, you’re awoken by a loud crash. You go over the hill to investigate, and you discover a wrecked vehicle. It is, in fact, a classic flying sauce, which has struck the ground hard, tearing a long furrow in the earth and ripping a wide gash in its side.

What do you do?