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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 345

Sagas of the False Gods

  1. In Danielle L. Parker’s review of Harp, Pipe, & Symphony, “Do as thou wilt” is cited as a moral precept. St. Augustine’s original starts with another verb; the complete sentence is: Dilige et quod vis, fac. In what way is it an entirely different injunction?

  2. How do Nongo’s feelings about Thandi change throughout Lorraine Nevins’ “The Water Carriers”?

  3. Does Nükhet Barlas’ “The Abyssinian” create a mystery or is it a story about a story?

  4. Tantra Bensko’s “The Boy Who’s a Floating Flower” uses the word “color” or a derivative fifteen times. How many colors are actually named?

  5. Is Ron Van Sweringen’s “The Icebox” a beginning or an ending of a larger story?

  6. In James C. G. Shirk’s “Green Thumb”:

    1. Why is Molly a mediocre botany student?
    2. The center of the story is the tension between faith and rational skepticism. Are the two viewpoints really incompatible in this story?
    3. How does Molly overcome being a woman — or superheroine — of little faith?
  7. In Lynn Mann’s “The Assassin”:

    1. What early clue indicates that Maureen is not an unsympathetic character?
    2. In what way is the Agency and its work a philosophical house of cards?
    3. John accepts his last “mission” from the old Director on the same basis as all his previous missions and all the Agency’s work. How is his last mission justified?
    4. Bonus question: What does “The Assassin” share with Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity in terms of its view of time travel?
  8. John W. Steele’s “Beyond the Island” ends with a kind of fairy tale that blends with Brian Mudd’s reality or at least with the reality he thinks he perceives.

    1. Does Lord Max Nagual’s account clarify Brian’s out of body experiences of the previous 24 chapters?
    2. Is Lord Max Nagual’s account an allegory of the story of Brian and Karen?
    3. Why should Brian believe Max’s story? Does he have any choice in the matter?
    4. Does “Beyond the Island” transgress Bewildering Stories’ guideline about stories that end “but it was all a dream (or hallucination)”?

Responses welcome!

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