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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 452

Long Trips

  1. In Alessandro Cusimano’s “Mercury Mission,” why does time appear to run backwards?

  2. Gary Inbinder’s “Seeds” is based on the time-honored science fiction theme of a “new paradise.” The action resembles markedly that in the book of Genesis but differs in some important ways. What is the significance of the divergences?

  3. In J. G. Buckley’s “Santa’s Crossbow”:

    1. What accounts for Santa’s cynicism? How does it suggest that the Santa Claus myth has degenerated?
    2. What point appears to be made about vampire stories in general?
    3. Is “Santa’s Crossbow”
  4. In Phillip Donnelly’s Kev the Vampire:

    1. What does “amadain” mean?
    2. Is the violence of the mugging episode gratuitous or essential? What makes it particularly disturbing?
    3. What word does Bob Brennan use that links the episode to Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange? Is it possible to tell whether the allusion is direct or indirect?
  5. In Mallory Noone’s “Ryder’s Choice”:

    1. Mal shows up at a school dressed in a long coat and wearing a face mask. What would almost any child do upon seeing him? What would the school principal do?

    2. What else makes it unlikely that Ryder would take Mal home with her?

    3. Why is it hard to believe that Ryder would be touched by Mal’s physical deformities and his miserable existence three centuries in the future?

    4. What is the “paradox” that Mal fears?

    5. Is it realistic to expect that Mal’s attempt to change the past would make any difference in the long run? Suppose he sent Ry back to her own time and nothing changed? Could he really draw any conclusions?

    6. Time-travel stories invariably raise logical and practical conundrums. Disregarding them and focusing on the two main characters, what is “Ryder’s Choice” really all about?

Responses welcome!

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