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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 273

Attention, Please

  1. In Bertil Falk’s Under the Green Sun of Slormor, chapter 1 “The Heavy City”:

    1. What is the literal chronology of events from the narrator’s point of view?
    2. What would be lost by recounting events in chronological order rather than proceeding by a series of flashbacks?
    3. What do you think might be made of Parvrin’s trying to steal a ballpoint pen?
  2. In Zachary Ash’s “Other Echoes”:

    1. Kyra leaves a timepiece with Ian, as a keepsake. What properties does it seem to have?
    2. Ian’s world, he explained, was their world, but in a parallel cosmos. The same people. A different past.
      Is the notion of the same people in a different history even theoretically possible? Even if it isn’t, is it acceptable as a literary device?
  3. In Sherri H. Hoffman’s “Thicker Than Water”:

    1. He [Pa] hangs the paint gun on the garage wall up above the old Packard, his first car, he tells us. Back when he was so young, he says. How could he have known.

      How could Pa have known what?

    2. What does the conclusion mean for Sawyer?

  4. In Catfish Russ’s “Super Yamato”:

    1. What is the significance of the astronomer’s building a model of the battleship?
    2. What is the shape of “the shard,” the doomsday asteroid?
  5. Danielle Spinks’ “The Fracture” is a symbolic fantasy. Does it contain a key to the symbolism? If so, what is it?

  6. Gay M. Walker depicts a soldier, Jillian, coming home in “A Whole Lot of Empty”:

    1. Why is it significant to know which war Jillian is returning from?
    2. Why does the town seem to be devastated? Why is the cause significant?
    3. At the end, Jillian appears to look forward only to a life of subservience and menial labor. What has happened to destroy her self-respect so completely? Is another interpretation possible? If so, what might it be?
  7. Mark Dalligan’s “Settling Down” raises some questions, for example: Since the “food bombs” have destroyed animal protein as a food source, how can people turn to cannibalism? Why haven’t they, too, been destroyed as a food source? Why don’t they become vegetarians?

  8. In Arnold Hollander’s “What Floor?” what would happen if Charlie answered simply, “Third floor, please”?

  9. Would Michael Lee Johnson’s “Leroy and His Love Affair” be more or less effective as flash fiction rather than as a prose poem with line breaks?

  10. Anna Ruiz’ “Mandaza Medicine Man” contains a reference to Strongville, Ohio. Why that town? And might the reference to Zimbabwe have covert political significance?

  11. Carmen Ruggero’s “I Shall Weep No More” can serve as a model for poets wishing to write about existential anguish. But turn the viewpoint around: how might God be trying to get our attention? And why?

Responses welcome!

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