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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 304

Tails You Win?

  1. In Emanuele Pettener’s “Grassona”:

    1. At the end, whom do you feel more sorry for: Tommaso or Grassona? What can Tommaso do other than he does? Kiss her? Where?
    2. How does the author make the reader feel ambivalent about Tommaso, in particular?
    3. How does the author mingle fantasy and reality seamlessly throughout the story?
    4. Who tells the story: the authors or the characters? Is Tommaso an entirely reliable narrator? How can the reader tell what is really — or most likely — happening?
  2. It’s sometimes said that a story should start with a hook but otherwise open quietly and reach a crescendo at the end. Dean Francis Alfar’s “The Maiden and the Crocodile” flies in the face of that conventional wisdom by taking the form of a palindromic story: it can be read “forwards” or “backwards” equally well. Does it make a difference where you start?

  3. At the end of Digby Beaumont’s “Not Me, No Sirree,” how would the meaning change if ‘Duggie’ were the android?

  4. In Keith Krogstad’s “The Crowd,” what might be the moral of the story? Does the crowd display prejudice against Evelyn on the basis of her physical appearance? Who does, and what does it tell us about prejudice?

  5. Does the ending of Mark Lawrence’s “USS Endurance” fit with the rest of the story? What other endings are possible?

  6. Is part 4 of Slawomir Rapala’s “Heritage” necessary?

    Write “A New Beginning,” part 1, as much as possible as a stage play. The challenge: convey all the information in as few scenes as possible and with only as many characters as necessary.

Responses welcome!

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