Have you ever come across a short story that just begs for further discussion? How about a whole series of them?
I’ve written before about story types and endings before in previous posts. Some wrap themselves up nicely, resolving the central conflict and conveying any intended themes. They can still be impactful but tend to satisfy the reader’s curiosity by the last page.
Other stories end in a much messier fashion, leaving many unanswered questions in their wake. Stories laden with allegories. These are the type that leave your brain tossing and turning later that night, and it haunts you again while driving to work. Did the protagonist act in a way that was surprising? Was there a grander philosophical or societal issue at play? Did there seem to be some clue hidden in the subtext that a second read through might unearth?
This is where ‘After Dinner Conversations’ differentiates themselves in the market of literary magazines – short stories for long conversations.
AFD is a monthly e-magazine that focuses on philosophical and ethical debates, as told through short stories. Each tale, 6 or so per issue, is self contained and makes effective use of metaphors to draw out questions for further discussion. In fact, their website and magazine flat-out encourages multiple friends and family to read the same stories so debates can be sparked. Not sure what to make of a particular story, or having trouble drumming up some conversation-starters? There’s 5 questions at the end of each story to help with this.
The issue that I jumped into was their September 2020 release. Its cover was eye-catching – a bloody, horned individual. Once I got to the first story, it seemed to be a depiction of Bub, a demon who takes a leave-of-absence from Hell. This is the story that hooked me right from page one, and I see ADC has also created a podcast for this story as well, which is something I’ll certainly get around to.
Also included in this issue is a 70’s period piece that questions the ability to manipulate others, a revenge tale follows, then one focusing on body-swapping, and a heart-breaking tale called, ‘Love Sounds.’ Plus several more!
One of the standouts, ‘The Shadow of the Thing,’ is a drug-fueled modern take on Plato’s Cave. The less I say about the plot of these stories the better as I’d hate to spoil it for anyone, but they burrow in your brain for days!
With over 70 individual, and collected, short stories to offer, there’s plenty in this litmag to chew on. If you enjoy critical thought, and making some steam come from your ears, then pick up a copy.
Personally, this has given me inspiration to try writing a short story or two that are imbued by these same intentions. After all, being discussed and living in someone’s head for a time after is where stories get to outlive the text they were printed on.
After Dinner Conversation is available on their website at www.afterdinnerconversation.com and Amazon. Their twitter handle is @afterdinnercon. You can purchase issues on by one, or pay a very reasonable monthly cost to keep on top of the latest releases. For any readers of my blog, use the discount code “Dinner” to receive your first month free. Also, give their podcast a listen as well!
Keep turning the page,