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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 486

Catch the Next Ark

  1. In David Barber’s “Memories of the Ice Age”:

    1. The story is set in a medium-term future where Britain is in an ice age. What causes the climate change?
    2. At the end, Anna goes to Houston, Texas. In the climate conditions of the story, why might Houston have ceased to exist as a city?
    3. What do the fates of Anna’s parents tell us about conditions in their post-apocalypse society? What political and social ironies are incurred by the radical change in climate?
    4. The “proxy” soldiers may be science fiction, but they are an extension of the present. What current miitary strategies and devices foreshadow the proxy soldiers of the story?
    5. What are Anna’s ultimate plans? What does she mean by “Who knows how much payback really costs”?
  2. In Alessandro Cusimano’s “The Flowery Meadow,” is the poem about the dangers of watching television? Or is it about something else?

  3. In Morris Marshall’s “A Planned Intervention”:

    1. How does the title apply to the story? What Is the intervention? Is it planned in any way?
    2. About how tall is the building from which Brent proposes to jump?
    3. Bipolar disorder is a serious neurological condition. How plausible is Mr, Samuels’ and Brent’s conversation on the ledge? Psychotherapists, what do you think of it?
    4. The center of the story is the social stigma that Brent and Mr. Samuels feel is attached to their condition. Such a stigma might be expected in superstitious cultures where victims are blamed for their misfortune. Does it seem plausible in the setting of the story?
  4. In Crystalwizard’s “Home, Sweet Home”:

    1. What is the light that Mac glimpses in the window?
    2. Does Mac do anything to deserve his fate besides getting drunk and staggering around? If not, what might be the motive for killing him off?
    3. The story ends as a fantasy; the entire house cannot be a beehive. What must happen for Mac to enter a beehive?
    4. Why is Mac stung to death by honeybees rather than by, say, yellowjacket wasps? Or bitten by snakes? Or mugged by thieves counting their gold?

Responses welcome!

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