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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 372


  1. In Marina J. Neary’s “Girl With a Rusty Wagon,” what does “St. Peter” object to: the wagon or its contents?

  2. Marya M. Wolfman’s “In the Game of God” is an allegory of a creation myth based on a flawed creator. What is the tragic flaw in Uncle Jack’s character? At what point does he inadvertently display hubris?

  3. In Rion A. Scott’s “Octavio the Clown’s Last Act”:

    1. What is the symbolic function of the water?

    2. In what way might “Octavio’s Last Act” be considered a companion story to Michael E. Lloyd’s “Drop to Drink,” in issue 216?

  4. Transport Michael Wen’s “Nonlocal Ingredient” from the Moon to present-day Earth. What “ingredients” might elicit similar reactions from dinner guests in various cultures?

  5. In Ryan J. Southworth’s “Oasis,” the Falmari are described as parodies of humans:

    “The addition of troll blood had over time made them a brutal people, corrupt and set apart from civilized life. It also made them dangerous adversaries. Enemies to be treated with care.”

    How would the story change if the Falmari were human?

  6. Janie Hofmann’s “Memoirs of the Werewolf”:

    1. Is the story more or less effective for being narrated rather than dramatized?

    2. At surface level, the story can be read as straight fantasy. What keys might allow it to be read as an allegory of combat veterans’ social reintegration? Replace “werewolves” with human beings; what kind of story might it lead to?

  7. In Phillip Donnelly’s “The Office Trinity”:

    1. The effects of David Vincent’s emotional alienation are described in detail. Is any allusion made to their cause?

    2. David Vincent considers his co-workers “Imposters.” Why?

    3. Does the story transgress the Bewildering Stories guideline that frowns upon logically unrealistic scenarios, especially those where the narrator dies?

    Responses welcome!

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