In Matthew R. Black’s “The Glass House”:
- The house may be read as a metaphor for a psychological space. Viewed as a symbol, what does the house represent?
- At what point in the story might the reader suspect or conclude that the narrator is insane?
- If the house is interpreted as metaphor, the story is horror in the mode of Stephen King. If the house is taken literally, what least-effort changes would be needed to make the story a comic film in the style of Woody Allen?
In Jeffrey A. Miller’s “Leaping”:
“They think if they hold each other, they will port to the same place,” the lunatic said, shaking his head. “But they’re wrong. Every soul goes somewhere different, all random, no guarantees. The child to one world, the woman to another.”
- How does the “lunatic” — or anyone — know what the portal is and — if it is one — where it leads?
- Viewing the portal as a literal artifact yields no useful information. Taking the portal figuratively, then, was the Archmage a prophet and is the “lunatic” a kind of priest who has concocted a semi-rational, semi-mystical explanation for the portal?
- Does the portal allow a leap of faith or a leap of desperation? Is it really a “Hobson’s choice”? That is, you can avoid extinction, but only by taking a chance on the portal.
In Brian Trent’s “Circles”:
- Why is the work classified as an essay?
- King Hiero’s question is somewhat morbid, in the style of Antiquity. How might it be phrased today?
- Bonus question: How would Montaigne have interpreted King Hiero’s question, and how would he have answered it?
In Karlos Allen’s “But What I Really Wanted” is Michael Hannety’s discovery of the electrogravitic space drive an example of serendipity or pseudo-serendipity?
In Anna Ruiz’ “Red Robin,” who speaks the last line: the robin or the narrator? How does your interpretation of the poem change depending on who the speaker is?
In Frederick D. Rustam’s Skippy’s World:
- Do Skippy’s adventures seem random or do they show some kind of thematic unity or progression?
- Skippy occasionally meets characters named for folkloric figures, such as Rumpelstiltskin and Casey Jones. Can you identify others? What purpose might the allusions serve?
- Does the story conclude or simply stop?
- Skippy’s World introduces many characters, such as Celia, who are more interesting than Skippy himself. They are typically killed, banished or forgotten. Given the same cast of characters, what story would you write?
In Travis J. Gates’ “Of Drums and Thunder”:
- Is it a complete story or does it seem to be a chapter in a larger story?
- Each scene presents a small mystery that Saviin must solve. How are the scenes initiated? Is the pacing too fast, too slow or just right?
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