Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 503

Ironizing Shirts

  1. In Gary Clifton’s “Infinity’s Conclusion”:

    1. What might be the significance of the title?
    2. The story ironizes the presumption of genre. What is the impact of the ending if the story has been read as science fiction? As straight realism?
  2. In Bill Kowaleski’s “Cindy’s New Profession”:

    1. How does the underlying “beauty and the beast” theme imply irony about the nature of Cindy’s normal clients?
    2. On Earth, which is more criminalized: prostitution or smuggling illegal drugs?
    3. Sean’s interstellar transporter is large and is bound to attract attention sooner or later. What measures might he take to allow his operations to escape detection?
    4. What stories might unfold in the further adventures of Cindy and Sean?
  3. In Steven Servis’ “Delmur and the Old Man”:

    1. Is poetic justice served at the end of the story?
    2. How might the story be told from the point of view of the police officer?
  4. In Morris J. Marshall’s “Word of Mouth”:

    1. About how long would you estimate Mr. Gale has left to function normally?
    2. Under the circumstances, what might Mr. Gale be doing other than pushing his booby-trapped “fountain of youth” pills?
    3. Assuming that society is as gullible as Mr. Gale says, how long before civilization collapses completely?
    4. Mr. Gale’s enterprise is blatantly criminal. As a prosecutor, what charges would you bring? Throw the book at him.
  5. In Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s “To Rest When I Can”:

    1. What are the elements of humor in the story? Of farce?
    2. It can be difficult to satirize a reality that seems to insist on satirizing itself. To what extent might the story be straight realism? Is only one party satirized?
    3. An unofficial motto of BwS says, “Stories based on current events are out of date before they’re written.” Make the names in the story fictional rather than real: does the center of the story appear more clearly when tribal sensitivities are not offended?
    4. Voltaire didn’t care whom he offended, and most of the events in Candide could have been supplied by a newspaper-clipping service if such a thing had existed at the time. How does Voltaire make his satire effective?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2012 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page