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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 411

Chocolate Eggs and Ham

  1. In John Stocks’ “Berlin”:

    1. How do the setting and action create a kind of sonata in a minor key?
    2. How does the poem create a tension between peacetime and the memory of war?
    3. The poem is nonetheless particularly moving: what accounts for its controlled power?
  2. In Mark J. Kiewlak’s “Rock Music”:

    1. Is little Bobby’s fascination with the stone arbitrary? Is it supported by anything more than an unaccountable superstition?
    2. Is the story really about a stone? What might the rock symbolize?
  3. Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s “The Change” is a parable on aging:

    1. What comic elements does the story use to belay any preconceptions readers might have about its belonging to the horror genre?
    2. What is the function of the monk? In his second oracular pronouncement, what “mistake” might he be referring to?
    3. At the end, the narrator says he backslides and takes his youth for granted. In view of the fun he’s having, is he right or wrong to do so?
  4. In Kir Bulychëv’s “Half a Life,” the derelict alien spaceship originally functioned as a kind of flying gulag. What elements of the story suggest that the ship is also a symbol of the Soviet Union itself?

  5. Fred Miller’s “The Call” starts as a potential tragedy and ends as a joke. Does the story misdirect or mislead the reader?

  6. How would Bertil Falk’s “A Mental Feedback” change if the ending were omitted?

Responses welcome!

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