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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 523

Strategic Biting

  1. In Tendai R. Mwanaka’s “Son of a Gun”:

    1. How does the poem transform a mild euphemism into an image?
    2. What additional country or countries in Africa might the poem cite?
    3. Does the poem gain or lose by limiting itself to Africa?
    4. In what way is the poem more than a “laundry list”? How much does it depend on the readers’ knowledge of current events?
    5. How do you feel about the conclusion?
  2. In Maggie Whitefeather’s “Harold’s Day Out”:

    1. What becomes of Harold?
    2. The story contains several allusions to books and authors. Who and what are they, and what do they seem to have in common?
    3. Is it possible to understand the story at all without some knowledge of British literary history?
  3. In Arthur Davis’ “Lost & Found”:

    1. Why does Brinkley P. Henderson return the defective coffee-making machine to the Lost & Found Department rather than to Customer Service?
    2. What seem to be the primary qualifications for the position of complaints department manager?
    3. What do you think the future holds in store for Brinkley P. Henderson?
    4. What might have become of the current department manager?
  4. In Peter Bailey’s “North by the Red Death”:

    1. Daniel gets poetic justice of a sort by biting the soldier who had hit him and imprisoned him in Pen One. However, zombies apparently do not eat each other. Will the soldier become a zombie in his turn? Will the other zombies devour him? Or will he become a partially eaten zombie?
    2. The zombies cannot be said to have good table manners, exactly, let alone culinary skills. But if they were smart, what dining strategy would they cultivate? And what would it mean for the propagation of zombie-kind?

    3. Does anything in parts 1-4 of the story foreshadow the turn of events in part 5?

    4. If the narration had been first-person rather than third-person, would the ending have overstepped Bewildering Stories’ guideline against plots that end with the narrator’s death? In other words, would zombification constitute a loophole, and would a first-person version have escaped on a technicality?

  5. In Martin Kerharo’s The Dohani War, chapter 17, “Determination”:

    1. How does Dexter feel about Irina?
    2. How does Irina feel about Dexter? Does she show him trust or distrust?
    3. Do Dexter’s last-minute mental reservations indicate he feels he is somehow being forced into a kind of “shotgun marriage” with Jane or are they a bridegroom’s normal last-minute “cold feet”?

    4. How does Dexter say he feels about Jane? What do his actions show are his real feelings for her? How can his feelings be characterized?

Responses welcome!

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