Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 456

Oh, That Knife...

  1. In Marina J. Neary’s “The Lady With a Lamp,” might Martin’s murdering Bennett risk causing the rest of the play to be anticlimactic? Might the audience expect to see higher-class murders next? Or might we expect something similar, only more genteel?

  2. In Phillip Donnelly’s Kev the Vampire, discuss the role of authority, violence and women in Kev’s fugue into vampirism.

  3. In Ian Cordingley’s “From a Distance”:

    1. How does Mark’s deciphering the message from Epsilon Eridani parallel his observation of Grant and Lauren?
    2. Mark discovers that the space aliens are two-legged creatures and are perishing from self-inflicted environmental destruction. What is the function of his finding an image of humanity in outer space?

  4. Mike Murry’s “Ichthyological Metaphysics” is (pardon the verb) a didactic poem and an exercise in prescriptive grammar.

    Granted, the verb “to be” acts a meaning word when it can be replaced by “to exist,” as in Hamlet’s famous soliloquy.

    However, one may object that “to be” is used primarly as a function word, and systematically proscribing the use of “to be” chops some very large chunks out of the English language. What stands to be lost? The question itself provides an example.

  5. In Christopher Spanel’s “Destiny”:

    1. The temple and the altar knife play a crucial role in the plot, but they appear as an afterthought. How might they have been incorporated into the story earlier? How might they play a role that would be more symbolic than incidental?

    2. What is the function of the girls’ mother? Does she seem to know more than she lets on? Does it matter, even if she does?

    3. Both Jade and Grace resist fulfilling the fate prescribed to them. Why do they go through with it? Kad seems to like the twin sisters; why does he willingly provoke one murder and commit another?

    4. The Showings have a reputation for being arbitrary, destructive, and even sadistic. Why do the townspeople accept them? Why does it never occur to them to revolt and destroy the oracle?

    5. Does the death of the two main characters overstep Bewildering Stories’ guideline about the demise of central figures in a story?

    6. The original title was “If I Were Alive.” Disregarding the fact that the title “Destiny” oversteps our guideline concerning one-word titles, which title do you prefer for this story?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2011 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page