Count Past Twenty, Hold Your Fire
In Mimi Rosen’s “Stormy and Grandma Rose”:
- Only people can be comic; animals cannot. How does the choice of a dog as the narrator add an ironic perspective to the story?
- What might be the implied moral in the choice of point of view?
In Antonio Bellomi’s “The Bonfire”:
- The character of Bruno is carefully drawn. Is Dominus Picpus realistic or is he a Halloween character out of satirist Stephen Colbert’s “Keep Fear Alive” campaign?
- In light of the context, what is the historical precedent for the hero’s name, Bruno?
- Would a young reader need to know the historical allusion in order to understand the story? Or would the story help the reader understand the allusion?
- At the end of the story, Bruno has set his course. How might the larger story continue — and conclude?
In Jacqui Pack’s “Playback”:
- Has Piper Elinham made a formal contract with the city for pest removal or does she assume there is one? What does the arrangement seem to be?
- How does this latter-day retelling differ from the medieval legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin?
In Andrea Ruggirello’s “Violet”:
- How does the story take the subgenre of the revenge fantasy to a logical conclusion?
- In what way or ways are Violet and Jacqui Pack’s Piper Elinham alike? How do they differ?
In Chris Kobayashi’s Man in a Dark Room”:
- What popular comic character has three fingers?
- The story is told from the point of view of ‘Adam’. Do his thoughts imply another point of view? Whose might it be?
- How might the author’s avocation relate to the nature of the story?
- If we take literally the name “Adam” — which the sketch-character logically cannot know is his — is “Man in a Dark Room” an inverse Garden of Eden allegory?
- Does the story transgress Bewildering Stories’ guideline that frowns upon stories that end “but it was all a dream”?
In Gloria F. Watts’ “Ernie”:
- What detail provides evidence that Ernie’s death is not the result of a murder for hire?
- If the man with the “slimy voice” is not a contract killer, who might he be?
- How long has Ernie been away? Why is his wife surprised to discover the hat in the garage?
Copyright © 2010 by Bewildering Stories
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