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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 382

Dust Off the Rule Book

  1. In Tabaré Alvarez’ “The Corridor”:

    1. We know from “Troubleshooters” that Dutch and Mrs. Medina are likely to discover the unexpected in their investigations. In “The Corridor,” the perpetrators of the controlled burn in the green belt seem to be involved in a bondage-domination, sado-masochistic relationship, something that perplexes and disconcerts some readers. What is its function in the story? How does it compare to the relationship between Dutch and Mrs. Medina?

    2. Bonus Challenge: How do the action and conclusion parallel the premise of Connie Willis’ Lincoln’s Dreams?

  2. In “Ronsard’s Sonnet for Helen, in Scots,” does Kenneth Barclay avoid the “trap” that Ronsard sets in the second stanza? Does the translator cover the double meaning of regrettant in the final tercet?

  3. How do you interpret the ending — Box 21 — of Glenn Blakeslee’s “Twenty-One Views of Uncertainty”: as upbeat, horrific, or what?

  4. Does Tyler Hill’s “Marching On” refer solely to the medieval Crusades? What details make the historical setting ambiguous?

  5. In Mark Kertzman’s “Honest Win”:

    1. What are the rules of the sport? Is the hoverboard race a test of skill or does it also allow hand-to-hand combat?
    2. If the race is a test of skill, don’t Amalia and Ruwena both commit fouls?
    3. If the race allows combat, what are the rules? Might the ending not be viewed in another way: could Ruwena be credited for clever — albeit ruthless — tactics while Amalia might be faulted for overconfidence?
  6. In P. F. White’s “Pale Son...”:

    1. At what point should the reader realize that the story is a satire?
    2. The story can be read as a satire of, among other things, pulp fiction. How might it also be read as a satire of compulsively other-directed personalities? Or of advertising, particularly brand marketing?
  7. Jennifer Walmsley’s “What You See” can be read as a classic revenge fantasy. But in what way is Mrs. Fleming as much a cold-blooded murderer as John Freeman?

Responses welcome!

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