I Hear That Train A-Comin’
In James Vachowski’s “The Shareholders’ Meeting” a speech is given ostensibly by the CEO of a large company at a stockholders’ meeting, but the company is revealed to be the U.S. government and the CEO, a fictional president.
- The story plays a joke on the reader. What is the joke, and what does it imply?
- Did President Calvin Coolidge say that “the business of government is business”?
- What type of government ensues...
In Roland Allnach’s “Conquest’s End”:
- What might be the “backstory” of the “Lord” and the “Lady of the Thousandfold Gossamer Veils”?
- What are the stages in Kyto’s realization of his purpose?
- Might the story be an allegory? If so, what might it refer to?
- At the end, Kyto seems to emerge from a dream world and draws a conclusion from the events of the attempted “conquest.” Why does the story not overstep Bewildering Stories’ guideline about plots that end with “but it was all a dream” or the equivalent?
- How might the same — or a very similar — story be told not as fantasy but in a strictly realistic mode?
In Arthur Pinte’s “Time Lapse”:
- Why might the story be read as a fictional memoir? In other words, what makes it realistic?
- Does “Peter Spires” accept, reject or simply acknowledge the submission?
- The narrator intends to write a satire of The McMuffin’s editorial policy. Why does he not?
- What are the implications in “The dead evidently have no sense of time!”?
- In what way can “Time Lapse” be read as a satire of Bewildering Stories’ own editorial practice?
In Tonya L. Turknett”s “Black Water”:
- Are the characters original or do they seem to be familiar “stock characters” from the rural gothic subgenre?
- Even well-worn stereotypes can transcend the status of cliché. What makes Johnny interesting? What other characters in the story earn the readers’ interest? In what way?
- In a scene in part 2, Deputy Randall tells Sheriff Ridley that he has discovered that the railroad tracks have gone unused for thirty years. Why might Deputy Randall’s report be a very implausible bit of stage business?
- Would the story be affected significantly if the railroad tracks were used infrequently rather than abandoned?
Copyright © 2012 by Bewildering Stories
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