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Friday, January 28, 2011

"Unpredictable Factors" as an Educational Piece, Plus! Check Out My New Site

When "Unpredictable Factors in Human Obedience" was published in Bewildering Stories, I was pleasantly surprised to see it featured in Issue 414's "Challenge." The editor's observations, implied in the questions he posed, showed a degree of insight that not only flattered me as a writer, but also got me thinking about the story in completely new ways.

I now believe that "Unpredictable Factors" could be used in the classroom as a jumping-off point for discussions of professional ethics. The story presents both the education and science research sectors and would surely result in some great critical thinking. So, please suggest to the story to any rhetoric, reading or writing instructors you may know.

Here, I've adapted the editor's questions as possible discussion points.





  • What political or cultural statement does the story imply?









  • Even if Emily Mattheson weren’t a schoolteacher, she ought to know better than to do what she does. How is she characterized?
    As a hardened criminal?
    As a sociopath?
    As a terrorist? 
    As an opportunist? (As the author, I vote for this one!)
    As a naive and careless incompetent? (This one works, too.)









  • What other endings might the story have?









  • Why might the author choose to avoid having the story associated in any way with her business plans?


    I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I have finally been able to obtain my own domain name: www.jessicaknauss.com! When I get the site up and running, it will include book club guides and fully developed teaching tools for my fun and meaningful stories, among many other wonderful things. I am in need of some funding before this can be realized, however. Please take a moment to take advantage of the never-again-lower, limited-time price of Tree/House in Kindle edition. Or make the decision now to add the paperback to your library. As everyone knows, Tree/House is the most desired novella among book clubs. All proceeds will go directly into a fund for site hosting. Ever wanted to be a philanthropist? I will even put your name on a donor page! Thanks!