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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 228

Things That Go Bump

  1. Transpose Patrick Supple’s “Zog the Alien War-Master” to another country. What forms might the cultural satire take? And what might the readers’ reaction be: Laughter? Perplexity? Rioting in the streets?

    And please don’t go and riot in the streets just because I mentioned... Oh, never mind.

  2. In light of Sophie Bachard’s “Crusoe Redux,” what has been the fate of Thomas Bowdler? Does anyone have a good word to say for him now? Has his reputation been chomped by the zombie of Shakespeare? And yet wasn’t the educational value of Classics Comics unappreciated in its own time?

  3. In Beverly Forehand’s “Divine Intervention,” Chuck the Demon is on strike against Heaven and Hell — and by supreme irony finds himself working for both at the same time.

    1. Why can’t the angel, who is holding the Sword of Death, slay the madman herself? Why must She give the Sword to Chuck?
    2. What might the madman have done or be going to do that neither Heaven nor Hell will have anything to do with him?
    3. Chuck obviously can’t be an atheist, surrounded as he is by both divine and demonic employers. And yet what does the story imply about good and evil and the ambivalence of the human condition?
  4. Prakash Kona’s “If There is a God Above” is an odd mixture of prose poem and political tract, something he says is common in the Third World today. And yet the genre has a venerable ancestry in 18th-century European literature, notably Voltaire. However, Voltaire scrupulously respected the poetic conventions of his time, namely meter and rhyme. Would Prakash’s declarations be more effective in formal poetry? In prose? Should he keep to a middle ground, such as the lyrical essay? Or would something entirely new, such as a short story, be more effective?

  5. A choice of titles can be difficult. What do you think of the title of Ian Cordingley’s “Marked”? A review editor noted that it seems quite obscure and suggested “Tracked.” I suggested the refrain in the story, “What’s a Man to Do?” Which of the three do you prefer? Or can you suggest another title?

Responses welcome!

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