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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 288

Getting Splinters in the Process

  1. In Slawomir Rapala’s The Three Kings, what might give the reader the impression that the Tha-kians are amateur rather than professional slave traders? Why was Iskald not thrown overboard when he went on his hunger strike?

    What has become of Aezubah? In Chapter III, part 5, Aezubah sets sail for Tha-ka with a flotilla and an army. They are only a day behind the ship on which Iskald is held captive. Why might Aezubah not catch the Tha-kian slavers on the high seas?

    If the slave ship has taken a circuitous route, why might Aezubah not arrive in Dilli before them and pass the time until Iskald’s arrival by sacking the city?

  2. In Heather Kuehl’s “Raising the Dead,” does anything in part 1 hint that Kinandrea is taller than Jackson? Is it significant in any way that he has to stand on tiptoe in order to kiss her?

    After all that Jackson has put Kinandrea through, why doesn’t she squash him? Why might it yet be plausible that Kinandrea would find him attractive?

  3. Might Richard H. Fay’s “Infiltration” have anything to do with the plot of a novel or film?

  4. Might this be a valid interpretation of Christopher Barnes’ “Playground Soldier”:

    Kids are out at recess at school. They’re thumping each other and waiting for the bell to ring. Some are sliding down a wooden slide and getting splinters in the... um... process. The teachers (witches) are erasing the hopscotch games chalked into concrete because they’re neat-freaks and recess will soon be over.
  5. In Mark Murdock’s “Analogical Meaning in Lord of the Rings”:

    1. “J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings has been voted the most popular novel of the last century, and in one poll, the last millennium.”

      Who took those polls? Are there more reliable measures of the novel’s popularity?

      How can you tell that the poll voting Lord of the Rings as “the most popular novel of the last millennium” is a joke?

    2. “For as Freemason Francis Bacon stated: knowledge is power. The all-seeing eye seeks power, seeks to control and dominate all it beholds.”

      Did Bacon define power as control and domination?

    3. “Even the phallic obelisk on which the eye is perched is representative of the pronoun ‘I’.”

      English is the only language in which the first-person pronoun is always spelled with a capital letter. No, text-message spelling is non-standard and does not count. In any event, Egyptian obelisks were erected long before the English language began to come into existence. Regardless of the symbolism of Egyptian obelisks, is the written form of the pronoun “I” necessarily or arbitrarily a phallic symbol?

    4. “In the East, the practice of meditation is used to calm the mind and disengage the ego. Just sit.”

      Regardless of geographical location, does meditation make the mind more or less active? How can you tell? Does meditation have moral value in and of itself?

Responses welcome!

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