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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 272

None but the Free and Bewildered

  1. The title of this Challenge alludes to which two works in this issue?

  2. Claës Lundin’s Oxygen and Aromasia ends in a minor key that seems to be oddly discordant. The 19th-century man revived from suspended animation worries above all about the worth of the rental properties he owns. But in the 24th century, everyone lives in condominiums.

    1. In what other ways is the presence of the “ancient man” ironic?

    2. In light of what we’ve learned about 24th-century politics and culture — and especially the science — what is Lundin’s purpose in subjecting the 19th-century man — and thereby his readers — to such culture shock?

    3. Which visions of Claës Lundin have already come true? Of the rest, which seem possible?

  3. Andrew Bolt’s “St. Doorman the Mighty” uses a rhetorical device that’s normally comic but is in this case tragic: the incomprehending narrator:

    1. What is St. Doorman trying to tell narrator?
    2. At the end, St. Doorman says that Heaven is closed. It’s obviously not: some people have been getting in with no questions asked. To whom is Heaven closed, and why?
  4. At what point in Harry Lang’s “The Song of the Night Bird” do you realize that the setting is not a future Earth? What choices is Chk’oki offered? In what way can this be read as a Christmas story?

  5. How easily could S. M. Murdock’s “Happily Perfect” be made into a stage play or a film scenario?

  6. Might Mel Waldman’s “The Good Dybbuk of Brooklyn” be presented more effectively as a short story than as a monologue? Might the form of drama be a part of the story itself?

    The monologue poses a problem without a resolution. Is the problem real or imaginary? What might the resolution be?

  7. How does Oonah V Joslin make the transition from the medium of art to that of literature in “Ships”?

  8. In John Stocks’ “A Song at Twilight”:

    1. In what ways does the poem have an international flavour?

    2. What kinds of personal stories are alluded to in the poem?

    3. What creates the music in the lines:

      It’s early November and the evening creeps
      Along Devonshire Green to Division Street.

      What do the street names suggest?

    4. How is light depicted? What is its function in the poem?

    5. What creates the music in the stanza:

      And we who choose to be bewildered,
      Who seek the chaos in life’s denouement
      In the remnants and the resonances,
      Will always find redemption in the dark.
    6. What “redemption in the dark” has the poem already found?

Responses welcome!

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