“Harrison Bergeron” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was the legendary author of the dystopian novel Player Piano, and many other classic novels, including Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and Galapagos. His short fiction has appeared in everything from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and If to Playboy, Collier’s, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Look at the Birdie, a collection of previously unpublished short fiction, was released in 2009. Other collections include Welcome to the Monkey House, Bagombo Snuff Box, and Armageddon in Retrospect. Vonnegut died in 2007.

Man o’ War is a legend among race horses.  He won all but one.  He set record after record for speed.  His strength and power was so legendary that as a three-year-old racer, he carried as much as 138 pounds on his back, giving a handicap of thirty-two pounds over the least-loaded contender.  It took a lot to level the playing field when Man o’ War was racing on it.

It might have been fair to pile all that weight the great horse’s back when he was on the race course, but imagine how fast he could have run without it.  If he could have run free, he would have sped by like a freight train.  He would have been so beautiful it would take your breath away.

In our next story, we give you a society that has created a system of handicaps for all its citizens.  Everyone must be reduced to the lowest common denominator.  It’s a society where beautiful women go masked and ballerinas are weighted to ground. 

It asks: in the pursuit of equality for all, do we guarantee inequity for most?