Stirring the Pot
This collection of short stories ranges from Sci Fi, through murder, to humour. The Sci Fi stories are at the human level rather than being epics. Enjoy an up-dated version of the Greek legend “Pygmalion”, a theme used in “My Fair Lady” and in the film “Pretty Woman”. The second half is a continuation of the series: “Streets Paved with Gold”, tales from Africa with a strong ethnic flavour. More
This book comprises two collections of short stories. The first is a medley ranging from Sci Fi to murder, humour and satire. The second half continues the series “Streets Paved with Gold” stories set in Africa. Most of the African stories have a strong ethnic flavour.
The first story, “Murder 101”, is set on the campus of a university. A professor of English Literature tries to liven up his course by studying books by crime writers. Meanwhile, a series of murders takes place on the campus, seemingly copying the lectures given by the professor. Naturally, the professor becomes the prime suspect.
The first Sci Fi story is called: “String Theory”. It not an epic of the type: “Aliens from Outer Space Invade the Earth”. It is a story at the human level with real people and real emotions. An American family is on holiday on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. Their seemingly normal holiday has disturbing undercurrents. How do we explain the two totally contradictory experiences they encounter?
“Cleaning the Swimming Pool” is a humorous story about procrastination and purple prose. Take my advice: never buy a house with a swimming pool. Rather, get yourself a friend with a swimming pool.
“Pygmalion 2336” is a re-working of the Greek Myth of that name, a theme used by George Bernard Shaw, in the musical “My Fair Lady” and in the Roberts-Gere film “Pretty Woman”. This version is set in the future 400 years after the first computer algorithm was written. Who is in control in 2336…. humans or computers?
“Till Death Do us Part” is the story of a writer who dies, comes back to life again and then dies again. If you want to become famous, the best thing to do is to die.
The “PhD Virus” is a humorous story about going back to school or work after the summer vacation.
“Economic Warfare” lampoons famous academics that bad-mouth one another in the open press.
“The Bird Tray” is a murder story with a few twists and turns.
The second half of the book continues the series “Streets Paved with Gold”. The title derives from Johannesburg, the City of Gold, whose streets are believed literally to be paved with golden opportunities.
“Dreams” is a story about two women, a generation and a culture apart, but who have more than a little in common. The two stories “Homecoming 1 & 2” are completely different types of homecoming. In the first, a young country man returns to his village to show off his wealth gained from working in the City of Gold. He has forgotten his tribal customs and culture and has to be reminded about the African tradition of “Ubuntu”, or sharing. In the second, a black academic return home after enjoying an international career only to find that nothing at home has changed in the meantime. What could have been an interesting cultural exchange turns out to be a disaster of misunderstanding, miscomunication and stereotyping. “Let Them Eat Cake” satirizes a certain type of wealthy, urban socialite. The title comes from the famous quotation alleged to have been made by Queen Marie Antionette at the time of the French Revolution. “Shakespeare in the Suburbs” is a story set in one of the literacy centres in Johannesburg, run by volunteers, and which teaches illiterates to read and write. “Witness” is set in the countryside. Everyone relates the same story about an assault and murder that happened in their village, yet each perception is different. Which one is the truth?