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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 496

Indirect Goals

  1. Both Bertil Falk’s “Saga of the Stolen Wooden God” and Jacob Peppers’ “A Rune Scribe’s Past” are complete on line as of this issue. Both stories open with armed conflict.

    1. What is the function of the Viking raid in Gardar Vinsson’s adventure?
    2. In the story of Drayasun and Calek, the zombie attack occupies a more central role. How would the story change if the zombies were human, i.e. the medieval-fantasy equivalent of Vikings?

    3. Both “Wooden God” and “Rune Scribe” revolve around a pair of characters who happen to be outsiders in their respective societies. Each set of characters consists of a “reasoner” and an “outcast.” The distinction between the two roles is not the same in “Rune Scribe” as in “Wooden God.”
      1. What are the advantages and risks of each conception of the hero in terms of dramatic tension?
      2. How does the personality of Gardar differ from that of the combined persona of Drayasun and Calek?
  2. In “The Stolen Wooden God”:

    1. Gardar solves the riddle on the basis of a single clue that is obvious to everyone except the one most affected, namely Liv. Even in a society that has no mirrors, how likely do you think it is that she would not have suspected that Einar is her father?
    2. Which is more important: the “secret” of Liv’s parentage, which is known to everyone but Liv, or the reconciliation and forgiveness that takes place within Liv’s family?
    3. What happens to Einar?
  3. In Douglas Van Hollen’s “Night of the Sun”:

    1. Does the story introduce technological innovations in the genre of combat science fiction or can all the technology be found elsewhere in literature, including video games?
    2. Military life has been characterized proverbially as an eternity of tedium interrupted by moments of terror. Does the story follow the rule that it may depict emotions but must not induce the same states of mind in the reader?
    3. Is Meade so dehumanized that she cannot function credibly as a character in the story?
    4. Is the story complete in itself or does it appear to be a chapter in a larger work?
  4. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “A Season at the Villa Novesta”:

    1. Matilda Rose writes what amounts to a confession of her complicity in an elaborate scheme of murder for profit. What else did Matilda’s father have to know about the Countess in order for the plot to succeed?
    2. Does the account of Matilda’s meeting Sebastian misdirect or mislead the reader?

Responses welcome!

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