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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 405

Five Degrees of Integration

  1. At the end of Michael E. Lloyd’s Donna’s Men:

    1. In the ancient tradition, if Antigone and Hemon had been able to marry, their children would have had an uncle-grandfather: Oedipus. Is Robert’s relation to Donna really similar?

    2. At the end, Donna recalls three heroes of modern world literature: Albert Camus’ Meursault, Jean-Paul Sartre’s Roquentin, and Molière’s Alceste. What do all three learn about the relationship between appearance and reality? What does Donna learn?

    3. The last line of the novel is a mirror image of the first. What is the role of mirror images and reversals in the novel? Which characters turn out to be other than one might expect?

  2. In Oonah V. Joslin’s A Genie in a Jam:

    1. What is the “paradox” that DJ almost creates during his adventures?
    2. In what ways does Genie resemble a courtly romance? What traits does DJ have in common with the knight Perceval? With Yvain? How is he the opposite of Erec?
  3. In Mike Phillips’ “The Planting of the Spectre”:

    1. What is the first indication that Sally has the talent to become an artist?
    2. In what way might the story be read as an allegory?
  4. In Antonio Bellomi’s “Satanic Degrees,” where would Manlio be if the Devil went whole hog and sent him to a place where the temperature is five degrees Kelvin?

  5. In Benajmin Batorsky’s “The Fly on the Window”:

    1. The narrator enjoins Anette to destroy the hardcopy of the letter. What else must she do in order to destroy the letter completely?

    2. Is the narrator recounting real events or hallucinations? What changes would be needed to allow the interpretation that the narrator is delusional?

    3. Assuming that the fly on the window and the contagious nightmare are real, do they have any meaning beyond themselves or are they a kind of natural catastrophe?

    4. What motivates the narrator to write the letter? Why does he not stop the contagion by taking it with him to his grave?

  6. In Marina J. Neary’s Hugo in London, do the characters speak 19th-century British, 21st-century American, or a combination? Can you find any anachronisms?

Responses welcome!

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