Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 290

Stretch That Belt

  1. In Sheila Murdock’s “Over the Moon,” how do we know that the cows speak only English?

  2. In Alex Moisi’s “From Point A to Point B”:

    1. Does Bob Andrews have any reason not to join Nathaniel Miriak in jumping from the bus?
    2. In what way is the story an illustration of Pascal’s Wager?
    3. Is it a weakness in the story that the warning does not appear to be given to all the passengers at once?
    4. If Andrews reads the magazine article, does that mean the bus won’t crash but he will eventually commit suicide?
      Or, since Andrews does not read the article, does that mean the bus will crash but he will have a chance to save himself?
    5. Is the story a parody of miraculous happenings such as precognition? Or is the story a parody of rational explanations of the contingencies of existence? Or does the story imply that a messenger must fit a certain stereotype in order to be believed?
  3. In the first and second stanzas of John Stocks’ “And the Sparrows Coughed,” how do the verbal sound effects — vowels in the first case; consonants, in the second — emphasize the meaning?

  4. In Mary B. McArdle’s “The Bobcat’s Song”:

    1. Is the poem the bobcat’s song or the poet’s song about the bobcat?
    2. What is the difference between a poem about the beauty of nature and one that is the beauty of nature?
    3. How might this poem relate to the inhabitants of the planet at Betelgeuse in Bertil Falk’s Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind?

  5. In Voltaire’s philosophical tale Micromégas, the Sirian giant says:
    Je vois plus que jamais qu’il ne faut juger de rien sur sa grandeur apparente. Ô Dieu ! ... l’infiniment petit vous coûte aussi peu que l’infiniment grand... I see more than ever that one must not judge anything by how big it seems to be. O God ... the infinitely small is as easy for you as the infinitely large...
    Voltaire is saying that intelligence and understanding may be found in the seemingly unlikeliest places. How does Michael Lee Johnson’s “Dove Poem” give an image of that lesson?
  6. In Mark Murdock’s “Analogical Meaning in Lord of the Rings”:

    I do not advocate burning of books or the return to an oral culture; however I do believe that we will one day willingly refuse the technology of literacy.

    In light of the essay, what do you think that means?

    The essay is based on an opposition of the “masculine” and the “feminine” and their various images and symbols:

    1. Is the “masculine” evil and the “feminine,” good?

    2. Can the “masculine” and “feminine” really be separated, as the essay implies? Is the result not comedy, as in the opposition of Mr. Spock’s “logic” and Dr. McCoy’s “emotion” in Star Trek?

    3. Or, viewing the separation as tragedy, does it lead to personality disorders such as megalomania or paranoia?

    4. Or do they exist in tension, like the belt-linked wrestlers in Bertil Falk’s Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2008 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page