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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 437

The Riddle of the Night Sun

  1. In Troy Manning’s “Show and Tell”:

    1. “Teacher,” “Principal” and “Janitor” are capitalized because they are allegorical figures. What or whom do the “Principal” and “Janitor” represent?

    2. The story is obviously a satire on the time-honored principle of storytelling: “Show, don’t tell.” Does the story contradict Bewildering Stories’ official motto: “Poems are not made with ideas, they are made with words”?

  2. Does Nola Stam’s “Father Earth” overstep Bewildering Stories’ guideline against sentimentality? Why might it be read as doing so? Why might it not?

  3. In Brian Biswas’ “Julie’s Murderer,” what actions might indicate that the inspector and perhaps even the police chief have conspired with O’Neill to frame Kincaid?

  4. In Sarah Lynne Gibbel’s “Creatures”:

    1. The structure is that of a “frame” story. It departs slightly from the classic model in that the action is sequential; the embedded story is not time-shifted. What does the embedded story have in common with the exposition and conclusion?
    2. Is a reason given for the animosity between Carrie and her mother?

    3. What is the resolution in Carrie’s story?

  5. In Charlie Burgess’ “10-24-02”:

    1. Bewildering Stories frowns severely on text-messaging style in prose or poetry — particularly the use of lower-case “i” — and allows it only under certain strict conditions. What are they?

    2. A Bewildering Stories motto: “Readers take everything literally unless they know to do otherwise.” When the narrator and mother go for help, on what formal charge should the narrator be arrested?

    3. What would the narrator need to qualify for the Darwin Awards in the “vicarious” category?

  6. In Mary B. McArdle’s Give Them Wine:

    1. Donas’ vocabulary is curiously lacking in words for common natural phenomena. In chapter 11, she learns the word for “moon,” which the inhabitants of Katera’s community designate by an analogy with the sun. And yet Donas does know two rare, specialized words, one of which applies only to the moon. What are they? How likely is it that Donas would know them?

    2. The bizarre lacunae in Donas’ vocabulary imply that Katera’s community is located below ground, in a cave or tunnel. Does the description in the early chapters leave the possibility open?

    3. The sight of the river arouses a certain wanderlust in Donas, and Lionel’s account of visitors from the northwest, across the river, gives Donas a pretext for a quest. What conflicts might it create for Donas? How are some of the possible conflicts resolved in advance?

  7. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s Error:

    1. How is Jonas’ action in chapter 25 ironic in view of his predicament caused by the Bureau of Personal Information Protection?

    2. Jonas is not responsible for the multiple murders in the next-door apartment. However, what crimes does he commit in chapter 25?

Responses welcome!

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