The Philosophical Fiction Not School Group read the short story by Franz Kafka “In The Penal Colony” for our conversation in May. It’s about a traveler visiting a penal colony who meets the officer in charge of a justice system. (Saying anything more would spoil it; just read it!)
I talked with Daniel Cole, Cezary, Laura Davis, and Mary Ricci for a few hours about Kafka’s story, which is tense, violent, surprising, and (as was said early in the conversation) “kind of like a Tarantino movie.” We went cover to cover talking about the characters, plot, and quoting passages. PEL Citizens can download the full conversation from the Free Stuff page (under “Not School and Aftershow Discussions”). Not a member yet? Join up!
The officer appreciated he was in danger of being delayed for some considerable time in his mission to explain the machine; he therefore went over to the traveler, took him by the arm, pointed to the condemned man… and said: “It’s like this. I have been appointed judge in the penal colony. In spite of my youth. Because I assisted the former commandant in all punishment-related issues, and also I have the best understanding of the machine. My basis for deciding is this: guilt is always beyond doubt.”
You can also listen to a free audio version of the story from Librivox.