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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 403

The Future Ridiculous Tense

  1. In John Stocks’ “A Night in the ‘White Hart’, Lincoln”:

    1. The first stanza and the first half of the second stanza consist of phrases and adjectives without a single complete verb or sentence. What visual effect does this abbreviated syntax convey?

    2. In the third stanza, what is the “symmetry”? And why is God “oblivious” to it?

    3. Medieval cathedrals were places of pilgrimage:

      1. Each stanza of the poem completes a pilgrimage of its own by first creating and then resolving a tension. What elements are brought into opposition?

      2. What is the time progression from the second stanza to the end? How is the poem itself a pilgrmage?

  2. In Chris Vaillancourt’s “Blood and Feathers”:

    1. How do the insects’ decorations compare with those of the “creatures growling in benign entitlement”?
    2. Who or what gives “preference” to “those creatures covered in fur”?
  3. In Phillip Donnelly’s “Future Perfect Continuous”:

    1. What is the first clue in the story that ‘Teacher B’ is old-fashioned, perhaps even a throwback?
    2. How many ironies are in the last line of the story?
    3. The ending is science fiction. In what way might the story not be considered science fiction?
  4. In Terri Fleming’s “The Eradication of a Loser”:

    1. Who kills whom?
    2. Is there only one “loser” in the story? What does the “eradication” consist of, exactly?
  5. In Terry Light’s “Androids in the Garden”:

    1. Why are the human occupiers of the planet Murr so afraid of androids, especially since the androids seem to be subject to Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics?
    2. What does Reema “prove”?
    3. Is it possible to create intelligence without first creating emotion?
  6. In David J. Rank’s “This Gated Community”:

    1. Is Jonathan Dunne a secret informer for the ‘Authorities’? Since he is arrested, who might have denounced him?
    2. What do you think is going on outside the walls?
  7. In Tim Jeffreys’ “Their Eyes Were Flints”:

    1. In view of the madman’s agitation, what do you think David’s best course of action is:
      1. To shout: “Company, ’tenhut! Forrad, harch!
      2. To shout: “Company, ’tenhut! Parade rest!”
      3. To run like hell.
    2. What might the point of the story be? A satirical denunciation of the motives of “warrior emperor” Ying Zheng in creating his vast terracotta army? Something else?

Responses welcome!

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