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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 242

A Hot Novel or a Hot Date?

  1. In Pedro González’ “In the Belly of Guile”:

    1. What does the denunciation of paper have to do with the story?
    2. Why does Gusiflax pick on Raymond? Is there any poetic justice in Gusiflax’s toying with him? The object seems to be to coerce Raymond into a conversion of some sort. What is Gusiflax trying to convert Raymond to?
    3. At Gusiflax’s temple, the acolytes chant, “To evil do us part,” which is evidently a variation on a fixed phrase: “Till death do us part.” Why is “to evil do us part” incoherent? How can “Till death do us part” be justified grammatically? Why would “Till evil do us part” make no sense in the context of the story?

  2. In M. W. Hamel’s “Deleted Scenes”:

    1. At what point do you guess who the silent man is?
    2. The actress auditions for what appears to be an unwritten play. At least it’s unwritten from the readers’ point of view. Does the action revolving around an unseen text cause the story to overstep Bewildering Stories’ guidelines against sentimentality?

  3. Is the narrator of Aaron Hayes’ and Daniel Dives’ “Diary of a Nihilist” really a nihilist or a disillusioned idealist?

  4. In Gustavo Valitutti’s “The Butcher’s Portrait,” why is the prisoner surprised by the editorial cartoonist’s unflattering picture of him?

  5. Bertil Falk’s essay “When Literature Travels Well” implies some important questions:

    1. Are money and marketing the only measure of art? Emotional preferences aside, are Spiderman comics superior to Ingmar Bergman’s films as an artistic achievement?
    2. Does English owe its widespread use in the world to anything other than historical accident? In other words, is it by nature superior to other languages in some way?
  6. What do you think of the analogy Kevin Ahearn makes between the “hook” of a novel and a hot date in “On Starting a Novel”?

Please write and tell us what you think. Responses welcome!

A special thanks to our review editors for suggestions for this issue’s official Challenge!

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