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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 419

Stop Watch

  1. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s Error, what is Jonas’ idea of excitement? Aside from his nightmares, loss of identity, and involvement with shady characters, his life is all dull routine and crushing boredom. What might be the purpose of chapter 7, where nothing seems to happen?

  2. In Danielle L. Parker’s “Death King”:

    1. Is Thanatos fooled just a little too easily?

    2. Why does Capt. Blunt keep the self-destruct implant after his mission is completed? Hasn’t the device served its purpose? Might Blunt put innocent bystanders at risk if he inadvertently triggers it?

  3. Clara Williams’ “Chronos” illustrates the proverb “Be careful what you wish for: you might get it.”

    1. What might indicate that Marc’s grandfather used the watch’s magical powers himself? What might indicate that the Goethe-quoting lady has hexed the watch? There is no Mephistophelean dog in the story, but might there be an analogue?

    2. What is Marc’s tragic flaw?

    3. Suppose the watch remained intact and Marc continued to use it. What effect would Marc and the people around him eventually notice?

    4. In Star Trek terms, one might say that Marc is a walking “space-time anomaly” when he stops his watch. But consider the physics; what happens if:

      1. Time does not stop for Marc but it does stop everywhere else. Hint...
      2. Time does not stop outside of Marc; rather his motion speeds up so much that everything else seems to be standing still. Hint...
    5. Bonus question: does Faust finally find perfection and say to the moment “Stay, thou art so fair”? Hint...

  4. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “The Grandest Show on Earth”:

    1. Why does Marmaduke feel a kind of kinship with Sheba? What is the difference between their conditions?

    2. All things being equal, at least how old must the circus’ “rifle marksman” be, assuming he is not younger than 17?

    3. At the end: “The marksman delivered freedom to them both.” Whom or what does the rifleman shoot:

  5. Heather Kuehl’s “Dalamar’s Quest” is obviously a chapter in a longer story.

    1. What chapters might precede it?

    2. Why is Kizmetta building pyramids anyway?

    3. Kizmetta’s machine has gears and pulleys, but even with soul-power it would hardly be adequate to construct a pyramid. Why does Kizmetta go to so much trouble? Why not let the Pharaoh and his engineers do it for him?

Responses welcome!

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