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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 500

Flashing Yellow

  1. In Sam Bellotto, Jr.’s “The Cold Cat Distribution,” can you think of any other ending to the story? Caution: it must preserve the story’s wry humor.

  2. In Margaret Karmazin’s “A Solitary Man,” what does May say to Louis? How is she different from all the other people in Louis’s life, including the space aliens?

  3. In Don Katnik’s “On the Breakwater”:

    1. What would happen to the story if the ‘Krake-O’ toy were removed? What is its symbolic significance?
    2. Is the “flash of yellow” that comes between Peter and the kraken sea monster a loose end? What might it mean in terms of the father’s relationship to his family?
    3. The story can be read as a time-warp fantasy in the style of The Twilight Zone or it can be given the sheriff’s interpretation. Which do you choose, and why?
  4. In Christopher DeWan’s “Sugar and Stones”:

    1. How does the story resemble a classic fable? How does it differ?
    2. If you had to conclude the story with a moral, what might it be?
    3. Can the story be read as a social and political satire?
  5. In Beverly Forehand’s “Dirt”:

    1. Is Roan resurrected, like Lazarus, or resuscitated? What’s the difference? How does the story combine the two processes ambiguously?
    2. Is the Old Man an allegorical figure for a creator deity? If so, is he portrayed sympathetically? Satirically? In some other way?
    3. The name “Prosper Vance” is rather unusual. Might it have some symbolic meaning?
    4. The story ends with: “And even in his sleep Prosper would weep.” Does Prosper have any reason to do that?
  6. In Varya Kartishai’s “Ballad of Life and Not-Life”:

    1. Can you suggest another title?
    2. Why does the serpent appear as a skeleton? What do its words mean?
    3. Do other customers in the bar have the same vision as the waitress, or does she only imagine they do?
    4. Can the story be read as a sardonic commentary on the customers’ taste in beer?

Responses welcome!

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