Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 300

Give, Take, and Make a Break

  1. In Richard Thieme’s “Break, Memory,” how many “future” events have already occurred in one form or another?

  2. What elements of setting, characterization and action in Gary Inbinder’s “Warbler in a Dying Oak” exemplify those of the Romantic era in literature?

  3. What literary allusions can you find in Richard H. Fay’s “My Alien Love”?

  4. Brian C. Petroziello’s “The Tower” can serve as an introduction to any number of “larger stories” or “spin-offs.” Mark Mogen’s family history would be a start. What others can you suggest?

    Why might it seem doubtful that the aliens are really hostile?

  5. In the epilogue of Pete Sierra’s “Death of a Stranger,” on what grounds should the two nurses be reprimanded for unprofessional conduct?

  6. Ed Burger’s “A Duck is Not a Human” features parodies of animals. Why is the effect bizarre rather than comic? The stories of Dr. Seuss often have animals as characters, some of which are quite fanciful. Why are those stories not an exception to the axiom that animals cannot be the subject of comedy?

  7. The setting and history are strange and quite complex in Danielle L. Parker’s “The Bats of Elvidner.” Is it fun or distracting to have to piece the information together as the story progresses? How might the “backstory” be introduced economically and artfully? How have other authors introduced background information without resorting to a clumsy “info-dump”?

  8. In Slawomir Rapala’s “Belonging,” how might Hafdi resemble Xunnax, whom Iskald met in chapter 3.1?

    Iskald’s adventures in the far South are alluded to briefly. What might he have learned in his wanderings?

  9. P. I. Barrington’s “The Faierie Ball”:
    1. How does the story differ from that of Cinderella?
    2. Why is Aithley Daray distrustful of LaLana and reluctant to accept the gift?
    3. The story ends with Aithely’s bitter denunciation of “boyfriend.” What has he done to deserve it? How might Aithley’s resentment seem ironic? Does she learn anything about herself, such as why she has stayed with “boyfriend” for so many years?

  10. Contrast the styles and contents of:
    1. Mel Waldman’s “Cool” and Thomas B. White’s “Beautiful Smoker.”
    2. Victim of the Avenues,” by Zane Coker, and “Amorphous Day” — or anything else — by Shannon J. Prince.

Responses welcome!

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

Home Page