“The Accidental Terrorist”, William Shunn on Atheists Talk

“Nineteen-year-old Bill Shunn was a man on a mission—a Mormon mission, that is, trolling for converts door-to-door a thousand miles from home. A seventh-generation Mormon, steeped since birth in the gospel according to Joseph Smith, Shunn had to place his life and writing career on hold in order to fulfill his two-year mission, and faced challenges along the way that led to the ultimate confrontation with both his spiritual and secular authorities. Now, with hard-won wisdom and compassion for his younger self, Shunn recounts the harrowing pilgrimage—rife with good intentions, noble ideals, and deep-seated insecurities—that pushed him to places stranger than any fiction. That story is ‘The Accidental Terrorist’.

Bill Shunn is a graduate from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City with a degree in computer science. Soon thereafter he began finding success as a science fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in Salon, Storyteller, Bloodstone Review, Newtown Literary, Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Science Fiction Age, Realms of Fantasy, Electric Velocipede, and various anthologies, including year’s-best collections. His work has been nominated for the Hugo Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and twice for the Nebula Award.”

Join us this Sunday as David Pacheco speaks with William Shunn about “The Accidental Terrorist”

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“The Accidental Terrorist”, William Shunn on Atheists Talk
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One thought on ““The Accidental Terrorist”, William Shunn on Atheists Talk

  1. 1

    I’m listening to this podcast now. And I love it! I’m about 2/3 of the way through, and thoroughly enjoying Shunn’s humorous and bittersweet take on missionary life.

    I’m especially creeped out by the tabs kept on all the Elders, all the smiley-face surveillance, the kind intrusiveness, the earnest emotional manipulation. The phrase “killing them with kindness” was probably invented for Mormons.

    And, mild spoiler: Dedman had an important point: going door to door and expecting to close a deal– whether it’s selling things or winning converts– is a lousy way to do it. He was a slacker, yet he said that references were a much more effective way to get new converts than the cold-selling that is missionary canvassing. That’s exactly right!

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