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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 249

Machina ex cathedra

  1. In a comedy, you get married; in a tragedy, you die. Tala Bar’s “Women in Autumn” is, in a way, a triple tragedy. What are the tragic flaws in the characters of Lorry, Tirza, and Anat?

  2. Gary Inbinder’s Noble Lies and Bertil Falk’s “Requiem for an Android” both deal with the human nature of artificial constructs, namely androids. The two works have quite different emphases, but in what ways are the androids similar? How do they differ?

    How do the androids differ from both Gary Inbinder’s and Bertil Falk’s in the stories of Bill Bowler? Isaac Asimov?

  3. In “Requiem for an Android,” the name “Personit” may seem a little odd but not out of place in the relatively far future. Does it help to know that the suffix -et is the neuter definite article in Swedish?

    Likewise, Mother Saulcerite discovers that the name of the pope who has been the object of her research is not “Gregoria I” but “Gregorium I.” What does the ending -um tell us?

    The Swedish title of “Requiem for an Android” is quite pretty: Själamässa för en kunstgjord, literally “soul mass for an artificial being.” How might the title be translated into English and keep the idea rather than the form? How about “Prayers for an Android’s Soul”? Any other ideas?

  4. In Michelle Bobier’s “Hero,” would it have helped to give the boy a name?

    What role does the boy’s uncle play in the story? What would happen if the uncle were removed?

    The story is circular: it ends where the journal entries end and where the real estate agent is marketing the haunted house to prospective buyers. In that light, does the boy’s heroism extend beyond himself? Is the story a tragedy of circumstance?

  5. Rod Hamon’s “Clash of the Mutants” effectively bridges two “larger” stories, one that has ended and another that is beginning. Write either or both of the “larger” stories and send it to us.

  6. Can you think of another ending for Sylvia Nickels’ “Starr Sight”?

Responses welcome!

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