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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 463

On the Sea and Over

  1. In Mike Florian’s “Albatross”:

    1. The author explains elsewhere that a helmsman, especially on a small ship, cannnot let go of the wheel even for a moment in heavy weather, lest the boat capsize. Why is the helmsman’s predicament treated somewhat comically in the poem?

    2. The sailor is not alone on the ocean. What does the flight of the albatross signify about the relationship between man and nature?

    3. Bonus question: In what way does Mike Florian’s “Albatross” resemble Charles Baudelaire’s “L’Albatros”? But there are striking contrasts, as well. What are they?

  2. In Edward Ahern’s “Alte Kameraden”:

    1. Do you think Irmgard was a spy? Does it matter whether she was or not?
    2. What does the story imply about the nature of the Cold War?
  3. In Bill Bowler’s The Shepherd of Zakhbaal, chapter 4:

    1. Why might one surmise that “Planet X” is inhabited by at least two very different cultures of sentient beings?

    2. Omar and the orphaned creature seem to have a kind of telepathic-empathic connection. The two advanced technological cultures encountered so far — one on Earth, the other on Planet X — are characterized by bellicose hostility. In that context, what future might be foreseen for Omar and his new friend?

  4. In Don Webb’s translation of Frank Wedekind’s Der Gefangene:

    1. Does the translation “read like a translation”? If so, in what way?

    2. In the second stanza, English word order is twisted to create an unresolvable ambiguity that is not possible in German grammar. Does the ambiguity fit the spirit if not exactly the letter of the original? Or does it constitute “writing a better poem than the poet”?

  5. In euhal allen’s “The Bridge: a New Beginning, chapter 2, part 1:

    1. The only thing that bothered Dr. Martini just a little was that Melichson was to be the building chairman and was to have one-third of the building for his weird theories.

      Professor Melichson is obviously not a janitor. What would he be the chairman of, rather than a building?

    2. The family relationships are somewhat intricate. Since they are not really necessary to identify the characters, what function do they serve in the story?

    3. Katia and Professor Martini engage in political arm-wrestling. How might Katia have avoided making an enemy of the university president?

  6. In Charles C. Cole’s “Company Business,” what situation or event do you think is most unlikely?

  7. In Tim Jeffrey’s “The Thought She Blurted Out”:

    1. What does Sally mean by: “I was there”?
    2. What will Mike do now that he knows that Sally is, for all practical purposes, omnipotent? What will Sally do?

Responses welcome!

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