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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 512

À hue et à dia

That’s French for “at sixes and sevens” or “by fits and starts.”

  1. In Tatyana Yankovskaya’s “If She Hadn’t Learned to Knit,” Ksenia’s husband Sasha has a habit of disappearing unaccountably:

    1. What does knitting symbolize? Why not another Russian pastime, such as chess?
    2. Why do you think Sasha is so evasive? Is he simply inconsiderate, a bachelor who happens to be married? Or is he involved with other women? Or does he make flimsy excuses about his absences as a cover for illegal activities?

  2. In M. P. Arizona’s “A Creek in Michigan” why might the main character remain deliberately unnamed?

  3. In Charles C. Cole’s “The Clerk’s Smile,” was the “local newspaper” right to decline to print Mr. deScutcheon’s posthumous memoir? If you had been the editor, what would you have done?

  4. In Rory Margraf’s “Private Existence”:

    1. The subjects’ unconscious scenarios are constant except in trivial details. Do they seem to confirm or contradict their conscious thoughts in any thematic way?

    2. The story ends with a curious remark: “[The psychologists] are more than aware of what has been seen.” What might “more than aware” imply?

    3. Does the story reach a conclusion or does it simply stop?

  5. In Mark Rosenblum’s “Hue People”:

    1. People are liable to acquire a green skin color suddenly and inexplicably. Are other changes possible, such as red to blue or orange to gray or vice-versa?

    2. Caste systems normally prevent — not cause — social mobility. What significance — if any — is skin color likely to have in a society where people are of so many different “hues,” especially when the colors may change arbitrarily?

Responses welcome!

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