Worlds Inside Out and Upside Down
Bill Bowler’s “Reading Poe” is one of a series of short poems summarizing the reader’s appreciation of various authors. The Challenge is to write one or more poems of your own about any authors of your choice in Bewildering Stories. Any poetic form will do, from limericks to mock epics.
In Lewayne L. White’s “Mrs. Quigley’s Last Case”:
- The story is practically a “locked room” mystery turned inside out. Means, motive, and opportunity for the crime are all in place. How is Sleepy Glen’s chief of police, John Biggs, going to get out of this one? Will his gloves and the poison pen letters suffice?
- A “larger story” is strongly implied. What must Annabelle Quigley have been like? And can you form a mental image of Mr. Biggs’ personality?
- In what way are the names in the story humorous?
In Bertrand Cayzac’s “Floozman is a Multimodal Platform,” the author describes with ‘deadpan humour’, in the words of one of our Review Editors, the origin of Floozman as an idea.
- Floozman’s solution to the burdens of the unfortunate is to hose them with money. At what point does the ludicrous become profound? Hint: think ‘bailout’.
- Now that you’ve thought ‘bailout’, how does Floozman turn the world upside down? In what way does the comedy become a sacred mission?
- And speaking of deadpan humour, how did Floozman himself rescue the author — and, perhaps, by extension — the reader?
In Jennifer Stakes’ “Sharp Focus”:
- What is the Debt? What does it mean to be Sent Away?
- What are the time and place of the setting?
- Does the context of a larger setting really matter? In light of the sniffling girl, what does the story say about human relations under the conditions of what amounts to forced labor?
At the end of Will Gray’s “Take Up a Bed and Walk”:
- The homeless man is apparently charged with the theft of a very valuable carpet. If the man had known how pricey it was, would he have cared?
- Under the circumstances, what do you think might be an appropriate action for the police? For the store owner?
- The title is taken from Mark 2:9 (or elsewhere) with a minor change. Does the story implicitly affirm, contradict, or ignore Jesus’ demonstration of compassion for the unfortunate?
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