Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 521

Speed Limit 500

  1. In Martin Kerharo’s The Dohani War, chapter 16: “Adaptation”:

    1. Dexter and Jane take their “pillow talk” very seriously, but only a reader who is a space alien will fail to see the humor in it. What are the comic moments, and what does the comedy consist of?

    2. Why is it important to mention what happens to the spaceship YR-341?

    3. Why should it come as no surprise to Jane that Dexter does not know how to operate a “slider”?

    4. Dexter is baffled by Jane’s consoling him for having had to waste years in learning things. Are her sympathy and compassion for him entirely misplaced?

    5. At the end, Dexter concludes that he and Jane are on “completely different wavelengths.” In what way is Dexter mistaken and how might his observation be seen as unconsciously and profoundly ironic?

    6. The role of the “innocent abroad” is time-honored, and both Dexter and Jane are cast in that role in this chapter. What examples of the same thing can be found in classic works, such as those of Voltaire, Montesquieu and others? What purposes does the role serve?

  2. In Tendai R. Mwanaka’s “Licking Wounds,” what “homelands” might the poem refer to?

  3. In Irena Pasvinter’s “The Smiling Lady,” what is the connection between the archeological digs and the Cheshire Cat?

  4. In Monica Nickolai’s “Isle of the Shark-Dogs”:

    1. Would it help readers if the girl had a name? If she did, would the “fairy” boy need one, too?
    2. Is the story a fairy tale or a parody of the genre?
    3. Fairy tales normally have at least an implied moral. What is the moral of “Isle of the Shark-Dogs”?
  5. In Konstantine Paradias’ “Vanilla Man’s Lament”:

    1. How many cubic light-years of circuitry would a digital computer need in order to evolve the intelligence of a human brain as an emergent property?
    2. Why does Vanilla Man not want to become post-human, like everybody else?
    3. What does the story seem to imply about “post-human” science fiction?
  6. In Iulian Ionescu’s “Space Race”:

    1. Why are the interstellar messages supposedly written in Latin?
    2. How did the Russians get to the planet of the red dwarf star? Why did they not come back?
    3. How did Gagarin learn English? Why would he want to? Does he actually need it?
    4. Why is Dmitri an implausible character?
    5. How does Gagarin plan to explain how he and his men return to Earth in the Americans’ spaceship — without the original crew? Why would they not simply hitch a ride home?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2013 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page