New micro-flash + science: THE SHARPEST KNIFE

Over at Story Seed Vault, publisher Alex Massey challenges authors to craft speculative micro-fiction based on real science. She calls this story “Story Seed #59.”

I also call this one “The Sharpest Knife.”

Story Seed Vault

When the military harnessed neuroscience, diplomats stopped killing with kindness. Now it hurts you to see me hurt—and I can make you die.

In the hunt for the cognitive mechanism behind empathy, the discovery of mirror neurons has lead cognitive neuroscientists like Marco Iacoboni to conclude that this is the neuron responsible for emotional motor control. However, this theory is not without controversy – scientists argue that it is not clear whether mirror neurons really form a distinct class of cells. Anna Kander takes this disputed theory and assumes if true, then relating to other people rewires our brains. For Kander, empathy is the sharpest knife. // Alex Massey

//Anna Kander is a social worker in the Midwestern US. Her work is slated to appear in Breadcrumbs, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and beyond. Find her at

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Author: Anna Kander

Anna Kander is a Pushcart Prize-nominated author in the Midwest. She writes poetry, fiction, and dark fantasy. Her first poetry collection is SLIDE A MIRROR TO ME (Transcendent Zero Press, 2017).

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