Loud and Clear
In A. Frank Bower’s “The Rule of Three”:
- Why does Badger choose the scene from a play by Jean Genet? Why is it referred to as “perverted” and “depraved”? What does it mean that Chuck realizes his visualization is not “perverted”?
- How does Mr. Badger’s part in his final conversation with “Chuck” illustrate the rule of three?
- Bonus question: Are the actors’ experiences the same or different in “The Rule of Three” and Carmen Ruggero’s “The Audition,” in issue 200?
In David Weaver’s “The Last City”:
- Why might the story be set in an ahistorical Istanbul?
- What would be the advantage in choosing a fictitious city — even one on another planet — as the setting?
How might Kathryn Lee’s “Marlys and Jim” be staged as a one-scene play? Is Marlys a tragic or comic figure?
Two of the short stories have an ‘open ending’:
How would you continue Noel Denvir’s “Sunday Girl” after the church door closes?
Kaushik Viswanath’s “Chimera Khanna” starts as a potential tragedy and ends as a comedy.
- Whom do Chandra and little Sanjana see: Dr Khanna with an extra mind or the body of Dr Muthu — a total stranger — into which Dr Khanna has been transplanted? If the latter, how can anybody else recognize him as Dr Khanna?
- The author explains that in Indian usage, “uncle” or “aunty” can be used not as honorifics or an expression of relationship but as nouns to designate a man or woman of a certain age. Does adding a linking hyphen alert non-Indian readers to this special usage or is it necessary at all?
- How does the story make the transition from tragedy to comedy?
- How does the byplay of the disk jockey’s telephone call enhance the comic timing?
- What do you think Dr Muthu might say after he clears his throat, at the end? What might Dr Khanna say?
Bonus topic: Jean de La Fontaine’s La Cigale et la fourmi is a quotation, not a submission to Bewildering Stories as an original work. As a classic of world literature, it has for centuries been a very enjoyable challenge to translators in all languages. Judging by any of the three versions on the page — the original, the Esperanto, or the English:
- Why do you think this poem was La Fontaine’s personal favorite?
- And speaking of “open-ended stories,” why might this be the only fable that La Fontaine did not conclude with a moral?
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