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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 369

Feed Birds Cleverly

  1. Bertrand Cayzac’s “Fred Looseman’s Misadventure” and Oonah V. Joslin’s “Accomplice to the Hawk” say basically the same thing. What moral can be drawn from both works? Hint: cf. Matthew 10:16.
  2. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “Accomplice to the Hawk,” the narrator rewards sparrows for being sparrows, by feeding them. Does she not also inadvertently reward the hawk for being a hawk?

  3. Bertrand Cayzac’s “Fred Looseman’s Misadventure” contrasts starkly in both length and tone with “Figs and Riesling,” which began in issue 346. It implies N’est pas messie qui veut — You can’t be a messianic figure — or a superhero — just because you want to be one.

    1. Where does Fred Looseman go wrong? Hint: How does “Fred Looseman’s Misadventure” contradict the synopsis of Floozman?
    2. Where does Sancho go wrong?
  4. What is the role of color in Ajay Vishwanathan’s “Bhima”? How does its “Pied Piper” moral compare to that of “Fred Looseman’s Misadventure”?

  5. What is the poetic justice in Sean Monaghan’s “Into the Green Pit”?

  6. In Rachel Parson’s “I Married a Monster”:

    1. What makes the title unexpectedly ironic?
    2. George was traumatized at age five when his mother caught him swiping goodies in the kitchen. What might one expect a young boy to go after? What did George actually steal, and what might it symbolize?
    3. The story successfully mingles farce and high comedy. What are the elements of each?
    4. The story alludes to the actors starring in the film series Men in Black. Must the reader be familiar with the films in order to understand the story?
    5. Bonus question: How might the story relate to the science-fiction film I Married a Monster from Outer Space?
  7. Why might Casey Whitworth’s “Bangnot be considered a story that ends “but it was all a dream”?

  8. In Channie Greenberg’s “I’m So Glad We Took Over”:

    1. To whom might “we” refer?
    2. What criticisms are leveled against the quality of political discourse in the mass media?
    3. Is there really anything new under sun — aside from achieving the dissemination of balderdash at the speed of light?
  9. In Paul Carlson’s “Santayana Station”:

    1. Why might one think that “Vanja Bogdany” would not be a girl’s name?
    2. How many characters are there in the story? What is their connection with each other?
    3. Why might a reader approve of or take exception to the peace movement’s residing on a space station rather than on Earth?

Responses welcome!

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