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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 499

On a Halifax Pier

  1. In Bryan Carrigan’s “Lucy IV-M35”:

    1. The title is the designation of an asteroid. Why is so mundane a title particularly appropriate?
    2. What details qualify the story as “hard” — i.e. technically accurate — science fiction?
    3. How does the reader know the asteroid is not located in the Solar System?
    4. Saint James sometimes sees chunks of asteroid breaking off or flying around. How does he describe their size? Are his comparisons realistic? What do they reveal about his state of mind?
    5. What happens to the shuttle? Why?
    6. What do the jokes and conversation reveal about Wickham and Saint James? Why do they tell the jokes? Why is Saint James the one telling the jokes at the end?
    7. Bonus question: In what way might the story recall Stan Rogers’ famous ballad “Barrett’s Privateers”?
  2. In C. A. Sanders’ “Masked Man Works at Shop-Rite”:

    1. Amid all the fantasy, what might be deduced about the real conditions of Masked Man’s life?
    2. Is Masked Man dangerous? What seems to motivate him to take action?
    3. Which is better: a shop clerk fantasizing he is Masked Man or Masked Man fantasizing he is a shop clerk?
    4. Is it safe to assume that Masked Man is fantasizing at all? What happens to the story if it is taken literally rather than as an account of delusion?
  3. In Ian Cordingley’s “For Your Tomorrow,” what is the significance of the title?

  4. In David Adès’ “In the Land of Maybe, how does the story overcome the biggest danger of allegory?

  5. In Tara Tyler’s “The Guardian Tree,” what is at the center of the story: the tree? The family? Sage and her retinue? The conflict between Sage and Indigo? Is “The Guardian Tree” a story or a concluding chapter in a larger story?

Responses welcome!

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