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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 289

Pegging Out the Sin-Meter

  1. In Slawomir Rapala’s The Three Kings, chapter 4, part 5, the author intervenes in person to tell us about Xunnax’s future:

    Fate did not spare him; he was to remember Iskald’s pain and torture for the rest of his living days. Well before the beating was over, though, he had disappeared behind a corner and out of the young Duke’s life.

    And that is only one of the “flash-forwards,” i.e. commentaries where the author inserts foreknowledge into the narrative. It is problematic:

    1. Is it anticlimactic? Or are you relieved to know that Xunnax, at least, will survive a while longer?

    2. The author writes Xunnax out of the novel. Do you appreciate the fond farewell, or do you regret losing what could easily have been the most interesting character in the story?

  2. In Bertil Falk’s “The Building Stones of Sinlessness,” Mother Tamara Crossfire’s “sin-indicator” registers a high level of sinfulness among the angel-like beings of the immaterial universe. Does Mother Saulcerite also use it on the “sinless” beings of Betelgeuse or does she use other means of investigation?

    What version of a “sin-indicator” do the Domans use in Michael E. Lloyd’s Observation One and Observation Two?

    What versions can you use?

  3. How much of the narrative in Michael A. Potter’s “Alessandro’s Unexpected Traverse” is really necessary?

  4. How does R. Scott McCoy’s “Day Twenty” differ from the “end of the world” stories in Catfish Russ’s “Shard cycle” and J. E. Deegan’s “The Last Page”?

  5. Does the self-referential style add anything to Pat Wakeley’s “Over the Edge”? Does the setting in a post-apocalypse world make the plot more plausible, or is the setting necessary?

  6. What does the slap accomplish in Jennifer Walmsley’s “Smiler”?

    In literature or film, wherever there’s a cliff, somebody is going to fall off it. How else might the ending have been arranged?

  7. How does the little sister fall off the truck in Shelly Parenti’s “Gravity”? What might account for her big sister’s reaction to it?

  8. Mark Murdock’s “Analogical Meaning in Lord of the Rings” sees Sauron as an image of the ego in psychoanalytic terms. But is Sauron really a model of the ego, as the essayist describes it, or of a personality disorder, namely paranoia?

Responses welcome!

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