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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 453

What Shall We Do With a Tightwad Wizard?

  1. In Matthew T. Acheson’s “The Demon’s Test”:

    1. Wny does Ahmed assume that the mysterious priest is “Catholic”? And of what rite: Roman? Greek? Why not Coptic?
    2. Doesn’t Ahmed deserve a tip for having to wait around for his pay?
    3. At what point in history does the story take place? Can there be such a thing as a lost temple in a desert in this day and age? Unless the temple were buried, might it not be visible from satellites or aircraft?
    4. Is “The Demon’s Test” a story or a vignette?
  2. In Rob Smales’ “Gotcha!”:

    1. Why might one object that the leprechaun actually cheats and does not fulfill his part of the bargain?
    2. At Halloween, 2011, why might readers sympathize with the villagers?
  3. In Arnold Hollander’s “Halloween Night” what seems to have happened to the narrator in the last stanza? If he’s been out collecting souls, what happened to the apparition who came to his front door?

  4. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “The Last Syllable of Recorded Time”:

    1. Dr. Geetler says he has to wait six years between July 31, 2011 and 2017 to find a date that is all prime numbers. Why? November 2011 would yield more prime numbers, and so would several months in the year 2013.

    2. If Dr. Geetler used a calendar other than the Gregorian, would the time quakes happen at the same times anyway?

    3. If the time quakes are as Dr. Geetler says, how can he remember that they have occurred?

    4. Which title do you prefer: “The Last Syllable of Recorded Time” or the filename, “Time Quakes”?

    5. Is “The Last Syllable...” a story or a vignette?

    6. Bonus question: How does J. G. Ballard’s short story “Escapement” handle the same theme?

Responses welcome!

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