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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 379

Your Foot

  1. To what scriptural verses does Marina J. Neary’s “Undisclosed Temptation” allude? Hint: Mark, ch. 3; Matthew, ch. 12. Why might one conclude that the poem’s interpretation is accurate?

  2. In Jeff Hall’s “Fade to Blue”:

    1. Brent Peters is understandably anguished by the callous treatment of the “Blues” and, especially of Haley. Is his overwhelming sense of guilt entirely earned? What else might he more likely feel at being betrayed by officialdom? Might readers expect Haley to be more understanding and forgiving of Brent’s trusting nature?

    2. What justifies Brent Peters’ killing the Colonel?

    3. How might “Fade to Blue” be written as historical fiction rather than as a science fiction allegory?

  3. In Jack P. Lowe’s “170 Degrees”:

    1. To what extent is the characterization encrypted by references to fiction in popular culture, especially the “Fearless Leader” in the Bullwinkle cartoons? What happens to the characterization when readers simply ignore unfamiliar cultural references?

    2. Tom is under a lot of pressure to bury the hatchet and declare a cease-fire between himself and his father. How is the pressure gradually built up? What seems to be the crucial factor that makes him take a new attitude?

    3. Imagine the story written as a one-act play, perhaps in two scenes. How might Tom’s motivation be communicated to the audience?

    4. What does the conclusion mean: “the world ended again”?

  4. In Danielle L. Parker’s “The Dream Miners”:

    1. What might be the mythological signficance of the Dark Inversion?

    2. How is Paradise distinguished from Hell, as Capt. Blunt observes the two on the forbidden planet?

    3. What larger stories seem to be alluded to during Capt. Blunt’s descent into the dreamstone mine?

  5. Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s “My Footing” starts in realism, becomes a surrealistic fable, and concludes as a joke. What other ending might it have?

  6. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “Oh, for the Good Life”:

    1. William has no choice but to accept the detective’s offer. Suppose William agrees; could the detective up the ante and increase his demand for a bribe?

    2. How likely is it that a lone detective would be dispatched in response to an emergency call reporting a sudden, unexplained death?

Responses welcome!

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