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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 311

Drop Till You Shop

  1. In John Saxton’s “Inseparable”:

    1. What distinguishes this story from the garden-variety revenge fantasy?
    2. In what way is the melodrama ironic in the description of the automobile crash? Put another way: what is the complicity between the author and reader in this story, and where does it end?
  2. In what way does Kate Aton-Osias’ “Ghost Between Moments” recount a realization of tragedy? What is the significance of the title?

  3. In Eric J. Krause’s “Children of the Mall,” only Shane’s story remains untold at the end. Why might he prefer to “live” in the mall rather than follow his friends into the “light”? What is the function of his untold story? Does “Children in the Mall” seem to be a deliberate or inadvertent criticism of the “consumer society”?

  4. Bertil Falk’s “A Dread Hour of the Past” is ironic by taking the form of a rationalized ghost story. What is ironic about the rationalization itself? Can you imagine a happier ending, or is a happy or sad conclusion really necessary?

  5. Re Stuart Sharp’s “Monster and Morality in Frankenstein”:

    Isaac Asimov surmised more than once in his fiction that robots would be rejected by the public on account of a “Frankenstein complex.” And yet Asimov’s robots — actually androids — are surrogate children; if Asimov himself is their father, his character Susan Calvin is their mother. And Asimov’s mechanical beings are very much like human children: completely logical entities who learn common sense from human adults.

    1. In what ways do Victor Frankenstein’s “monster” and Isaac Asimov’s “robots” reflect the plight of the child brought to life by an ambivalent parent?

    2. To take the question further, in the spirit of Halloween: What are the emotional and practical consequences of a human existential philosophy in a world where God is ambivalent, as in dualism; or distant, as in an Epicurean philosophy; or absent, as in materialism; or dead, to cite Friedrich Nietzsche?

  6. Michael E. Lloyd’s “Quo Vadis?” refers, of course, to his just concluded novel, Observation Three. What is the pun in the title of the poem? The poem contains a double acrostic. What is it?

Responses welcome!

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