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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 433

What Is Good?

  1. In Maria Kontak’s “Painting Faces”:

    1. Why does Lauren wish she could tell her father she is sorry?
    2. What is the difference between a love story and a story of love?
  2. In Bertil Falk’s “Best Is in the Eyes of the Reader”:

    1. Would it help to know what the editors of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine had to say about their reprinting Gerald Kersh’s “The Thief Who Played Dead”?

    2. Does the essay imply that any reader’s judgment is as valid as any other’s? In other words, is anything “good” or even “best” as long as you can find someone willing to say it is, namely “Anything goes”? Or does the essay imply something quite different?

    3. Do Bertil Falk’s and Don Webb’s essays:
      1. disagree completely?
      2. agree in some particulars while disagreeing in others?
      3. make the same point from different perspectives?
  3. In Sean Monaghan’s Pan Am 617 Heavy, Keyshaa has a lot of explaining to do while she and Dominic sabotage Miterall’s compound.

    1. Why might Keyshaa have kept Dominic completely in the dark about her background and her motives for the attack?
    2. Readers normally expect Keyshaa to be the heroine and her flunky, Dominic, at least to be a “good guy” if only because they are the main characters in the story so far. Is there any evidence — besides what Keyshaa says — that Miterall is a villain?

  4. In Paul Lang’s “Not Like an Angel”:

    1. Are the epigraph and the postscript real or invented quotations?
    2. What appears to be the moral of the story?
    3. What does the acronym “N.A.P.A.L.M.” stand for? Is it ever explained?
    4. Does the fact that napalm is a weapon designed to burn people to death make the narrator’s thoughts ironic?
    5. Is the narrator’s name Warren or is it Dr./Mr. Fields’ name?
    6. Melodrama aside, does the narrator have any special motivation to save Dr. Hansen from the clutches of the Tarquillo?
  5. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s Error:

    1. Jonas survives yet another car chase. Counting the first chase and the attack on the Bureau of Personal Information Protection, how many fatalities has Jonas left in his wake so far?

    2. Considering that five more chapters remain, will the senseless violence need to increase arithmetically, exponentially or asymptotically in order to demolish the town of Smoky Bay and annihilate its inhabitants?

  6. In Channie Greenberg’s “Pit Bulls Plus Pigeons”:

    1. What might indicate that the poem is intended to be comical? Why isn’t it?
    2. Which of Bewildering Stories’ official mottoes does the poem flout?
    3. Which of Bewildering Stories’ Classic Rejection Notices does the poem exemplify?
    4. What kind of prize or therapy would you suggest offering to anyone who can translate the poem into English?
  7. In Mary B. McArdle’s Give Them Wine:

    1. Do the “south people” seem to know more or less about Donas’ community than Donas’ people know about them?

    2. “A smiling adult female stood inside.” — Donas is only 15 years old. How likely is it she will know the term “adult female” but not the common noun “woman”?

    3. How might the author have avoided incongruity and made Donas more believable while at the same time communicating Donas’ suspicions and lack of understanding?

    4. Considering that Donas is a refugee, might one expect her to be a little more open-minded and curious than she seems to be?

Responses welcome!

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