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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 530

No Place Like Love

  1. In Leonard Schlenz’ “You Crack Me Up”:

    1. How is Spring initially depicted to the readers? Does she seem to conform to one or more stereotypes? How does her personality evolve?
    2. Genghis’ comrades are supposedly killed in the raid on their encampment. Judging by what happens to Genghis at the end, what must have actually happened to them, and what does it imply?
    3. Science fiction has traditionally made a home for stories in which space aliens are capable of shape-shifting or teleportation. Genghis and his people can do both, within limits. How do the fantastical abilities transcend stage dressing and embody the moral of the story?
  2. In Julie Wornan’s “Monsieur Deux”:

    1. The narrator says she is not superstitious. Is she telling the truth?
    2. Is the vendor pleased to have the narrator as a steady customer or does he seem to have mixed emotions?
    3. As the narrator buys more and more from the street vendor, she begins to lose increasingly valuable pairs of items. Instead of avoiding the vendor, what might she do to break the jinx?
  3. In Phil Davies’ “The Arianthids”:

    1. Is it significant that Thain and Mildred are the only two Arianthids left out of many? Why might Thain have an uncommon name while Mildred has a common one?
    2. The Arianthids grant Mary’s wishes, in their own way. In the process, do they punish or rescue her? Whose problems do they solve?
    3. Who might Mary’s new brother be?
    4. From Mary’s viewpoint, which is scarier: the Arianthids or the human beings she has to deal with?
  4. In Varya Kartishai’s “No Place Like Home”:

    1. Why is Kano, among all the children of his family, chosen to be abandoned in the city? How does Kano’s family appear to feel about getting rid of him?
    2. What stages does Kano go through in adjusting to his life with the group of outcasts? What virtues does he display?
    3. In what way might the space alien resemble Kano? Is the space alien really necessary to the story?
    4. Which is the most likeable character in the story?
  5. In Noel Denvir’s “Testament”:

    1. In what way might Quon Alton’s exploration of the cavern seem unorthodox for an archeologist?
    2. Isaac writes a suicide note that he says he intends to burn. Why doesn’t he burn it? What is the significance of the note’s disintegrating rather than remaining intact after Quon Alton reads it?
    3. What is the tenor of Isaac’s note: idealistic, realistic or cynical?
    4. Are Isaac, Father John and Maria the only ones left alive in the world in this post-apocalypse scenario? Does Isaac assume that they are?
    5. How does this story answer the question in the Readers’ Guide of issue 528: “If you had an ancient library, what would you do with it?”
  6. In Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu’s “Lily Stalk”:

    1. What does the poem associate with love?
    2. What is the significance of the title?
    3. Does the picture add to or detract from the poem? If you had to propose another picture, what would it be?
    4. If “Lily Stalk” were a picture postcard, who would you send it to? What message would you write on the address side?
  7. In Don Webb’s “Big Beaver Is Watching You”:

    1. Countries heavy into monitoring communications have agreed to pool their resources by building and sharing a World-Wide Database computer “cloud” in Mongolia. Why?
    2. Is the monitoring of computerized kitchen appliances realistic or far-fetched?
    3. Who seems to be doing the more effective job of spying: Mom, the professional security analyst, or Tommy, the teenage “amateur”?
    4. How has spying affected politics, technology and culture in Tommy’s “near-future” world?
    5. What will a computerized world government be like if Tommy’s idea is implemented?

Responses welcome!

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