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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 316

Heed the Scandals

  1. In Mark Dalligan’s “Adam’s Ale”:

    1. Why might the story of Elijah and Obadiah be read as an inversion of that in 1 Kings 18 ?
    2. Does anything in the story suggest a connection with Scripture beyond that of the Hebrew Bible?
    3. The title may seem a bit obscure. What might it imply?
  2. In Terence Kuch’s “The Dragon’s Will”:

    1. Do the robots express emotion at some point before they are programmed to do so?
    2. What does the lack of a negative feedback loop in the robots’ programming imply about human emotional development?
  3. In Jack P. Lowe’s “We Are You,” the hard-nosed would-be journalist would seem justified in disbelieving Bud’s story about space aliens. But what information does Bud impart that ‘Quiz’ might do well to heed?

  4. Is Carol Reid’s “Wondergirls” a cautionary tale? How are Beck and the people she meets affected by the plants?

  5. In Michael Lee Johnson’s “Gingerbread Lady,” the image “She walks in scandals” might look like a typo for “She walks in sandals.” What other verses in the poem might justify this startling yet playful image?

  6. In James C. Clar’s “Fire and Water”:

    1. Tom’s piece of lava makes Sally ill; Sally’s makes Tom ill. Why does the lava not act on the possessor? Why do Sally and Tom not fall ill at the same time?

    2. Tom appeases the volcano goddess by mailing his rock back to the tourist center, but he does the same by throwing Sally’s into the ocean. Might he have achieved the same purpose by throwing both rocks into the ocean or mailing both back to the tourist center? Do the “return” options imply that intent is the important thing?

    3. Ambiguity can test the reader. Do you sympathize with Tom’s expanded New Age consciousness or do you scoff at his reversion to pagan ritual?

  7. Can you suggest a different ending to E. S. Strout’s “Rapid Transit”?

  8. Is Andrew Sydlik’s “Max and the Gorilla” a cautionary tale? If so, what have Max and Alice done to deserve their fate?

Responses welcome!

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