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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 301

Have Brick, Will Chisel

  1. How might Ian Cordingley’s “Mental Block” be read as a dark satire on the subgenre of mind-control stories? What motivates the quest for the lost memory?

  2. Bertrand Cayzac’s “Floozman Saves a Dog contains three elements of social satire: dogs, real estate, and labor relations. What is the satirical element in each?

  3. In Slawomir Rapala’s “Belonging”:

    1. Iskald’s wanderings during his exile from Arrosah are not a “flashback,” strictly speaking; they’re recounted as historical narration. How else might Iskald’s adventures be presented? As dramatized episodes in chronological order? As dramatized memories? Or should they be omitted altogether?

    2. What is the most grievous sin that any character in The Three Kings can commit? Do Iskald’s adventures qualify him as a villain who needs redemption?

    3. In “The Memory Remains,” King Diovinius gave Iskald important advice, which Iskald did not heed. How might Iskald have put the King’s advice to good use before leaving Arrosah?

  4. In Danielle L. Parker’s “The Bats of Elvidner”:

    1. At the end, who says “Eeuh! The ugly thing!”? Would a small bit of stage business help the reader visualize the scene? If so, what would you suggest? The author says the speaker can be deduced by a process of elimination. Is that an impediment to the reader, or does it really matter who is speaking?

    2. Remove the final gesture, where the “wizard” hands the little bat to the boy. What happens to the meaning of the entire novella?

    3. Is “The Bats of Elvidner” science fiction, fantasy, or a mixture of both? Shape-shifting has become commonplace in science fiction; how is it depicted in “The Bats of Elvidner”? Can the term “wizard” be discounted as a borrowing from fantasy, one that is used as a technical term on the planet Elvidner?

    4. What kind of story might precede “The Bats of Elvidner” in a series? How might it orient the reader to the setting and history of Elvidner?

Responses welcome!

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