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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 489

Mourn the Hypothetically Late Cats

  1. In Karen B. Kaplan’s “Upward Spiral”:

    1. What seems to be Iris Perle’s predominant emotional states throughout the novella?
    2. What realization does Iris come to concerning herself and her occupation?
    3. What story might emerge if Iris Perle were omitted entirely and the focus centered on Clara and her friends?
    4. Might “Upward Spiral” be read as a image of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot from Godot’s point of view?
  2. In Richard Ong’s “For Whom the Gods Will Call” the ending is of a type that is sometimes used today as a dramatic device but was taken literally in Antiquity, as it is in this story. What is it?

  3. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “Art of the Storm”:

    1. What are “kittiwakes”? What might they be called in other localities? Do they add “local colour” in any way?
    2. Why might the author fear for them?
  4. In David Harker’s “What Is Music?

    1. Why does Jen write automatically rather than consciously?
    2. What important rule of test-taking strategy does Jen’s answer exemplify?
  5. In Ernest B. Cohen’s “Sysman”:

    1. “I had absolutely no idea how changing the speed of light might impinge upon my personal life.” — Aside from that, how might changing the speed of light affect the size, shape or temperature of the universe?
    2. What option had the narrator’s friend Jonathan selected in the mysterious computer program?
  6. In Harald Wägner’s “Dr. Hardie,” the doctor’s reported place of residence, Chicago, seems to be quite irrelevant to the story he tells. What might the “American connection” have meant to Swedish readers, especially in the early 20th century?

  7. In Regina Clarke’s “Logic Is a Halfway House”:

    1. Why is Anton skeptical about Sellers and Sellers’ project? Why does Anton finally agree to participate in it?
    2. Summarize briefly what Sellers says he is trying to accomplish.
    3. What does Sellers’ experiment actually appear to do?
    4. What is the function of the women in the story?
    5. What might the title mean?
    6. What might the ending mean?

Responses welcome!

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