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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 522

The Soporific Choo-Choo

  1. In Janet Chisnall’s “The Lost Art of Sleep,” how might Katherine have contrived to get a good night’s sleep without taking such long train trips?

  2. In Peter Bailey’s “North by the Red Death,” what thriller films does Daniel recall? In what way is he unlike James Bond?

  3. In Christopher T. Garry’s “Flame Bound”:

    1. Why does Anna go in search of the bear rather than leave it to its natural fate?
    2. What does Anna mean by “I did it”?
  4. In Tammy May’s “Unforeseen Consequences”:

    1. Why does Ethan have to send Laurel back to infancy?
    2. Even after twenty years, how will Laurel feel about the “bait and switch” sales job that Ethan has pulled on her? How will the two of them spend “eternity” together? Will they?
  5. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “Finding a Reason”:

    1. At what point does the narrator inadvertently portend Buddy’s fate?
    2. In view of the narrator’s earlier close escapes, what does Ramona’s and Buddy’s drowning imply about Ramona?
  6. In Martin Kerharo’s The Dohani War, chapter 16, “Adaptation,” parts 2 and 3:

    1. In part 1, Jane appears to offer Dexter free sex. Some readers may think that Dexter is a soldier on leave and should immediately take her up on the offer. What reasons does Dexter have to be cautious in addition to those he, himself, gives?

    2. Why does Dexter not recognize the Caterpillar when he first sees it, and why does he not immediately recall what Jane has told him about it?

    3. Jane’s physician explains to Dexter that telepathic communication within “hive” societies is based on radio waves. What practical problems in communication might one expect in such a system?

    4. In chapter 16, Dexter learns a lot about the Dohani, and he occasionally reflects briefly on what he is learning. What tone do his reflections typically take?

    5. In part 3, Jane describes a “prison planet” inhabited by 200 million humans. What might account for such a large population?

    6. The conditions Jane describes on the prison planet impress Dexter as practically idyllic. What might his surmise about its social conditions portend for the ultimate outcome of the war?

    7. Does Dexter answer all the Dohani children’s questions? In what ways do the children closely resemble their human counterparts?

    8. In part 1, Jane offers her condolences to Dexter for his long, laborious education. In what way do Dexter’s sessions with the children constitute dramatic irony?

Responses welcome!

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