Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 533


  1. In Boris Kokotov’s “The Chess Players” assume that white is on the left and black is on the right in the image of the chessboard. Whose turn is it to move? What is the best move? The best reply?

  2. In Charles C. Cole’s “Stel”:

    1. How does Stel seem to feel about Hunter? Hunter about Stel?
    2. What element(s) might give the story the flavor of a memoir?
  3. In Mike Phillips’ “Machine Fink”:

    1. Why might Billy not take seriously Fritz’s threat to have him fired?
    2. Fritz gives Billy a long account of his meeting with “Boss-man.” What is the humor in Fritz’s story?
  4. In Irene Pasvinter’s “Lucky Bastard”:

    1. Who or what is the narrator?
    2. Who is the "lucky bastard”? Why is he a “bastard” and why is he “lucky”?
    3. Is the moral of the poem “Don’t curse your luck” or “Make friends with the firing squad”?
  5. In Dylan Larson-Harsch’s “Ralegine”:

    1. What kind of society does the story depict?
    2. Is there such a thing as a “common good” in the society in which Nick lives? How is the cost of street repairs assigned? Why is it implausible that anyone or any group would erect a traffic light?
    3. In the story, national governments have disappeared. What has replaced them?
    4. Why might Nick not be surprised to be captured by the Brangle militia?
  6. In James Bright’s “Pyrrhic Victory,” chapter 3, bonus questions:

    1. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game also depicts interstellar warfare as a kind of video game. Aside from that, how does Card’s novel echo themes developed by Robert A. Heinlein?

    2. Why might Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War — as well as certain historical developments — have left science fiction little option other than video games for “combat” stories? When television does not imitate video games, to what extent does it treat combat differently, as in Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5?

Responses welcome!

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

Home Page