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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 541

Lights Off and On

  1. In Mary B. McArdle’s “Minor Key,” what does “transeunt” mean? Can you think of another word or phrase might you use?

  2. In Nathaniel Johnson’s “Old Thompson”:

    1. Are the dog tracks in the snow Pudding’s or those of another dog that Old Thompson has befriended? Does it matter?
    2. How might the story be adapted to the stage as a two-scene play?
  3. In Arthur Mackeown’s “The Banker of Bread”:

    1. Moshe Cohen has made an informal vow to eat only dry Matzoh rather than bread, as a kind of memorial sacrifice. Why does he eventually break the vow, and to what effect?
    2. The historical note adds context, but does it change anything about the story itself or the reader’s perception of it?

  4. In Bill McCormick’s “A Letter From an Editor”:

    1. Can you think of a different title for the story?
    2. What does the story satirize? Bewildering Stories will award a virtual prize of recognition to the longest list.

    3. Brad Jacobs is not a thoroughly unscrupulous corporateer. What redeeming qualities does he have?

    4. The “hybrid” children take revenge by thwarting electronics on Earth for a century:

      1. Is it realistic to expect that repeated electromagnetic pulses will keep Earth “in the dark” for so long a time? What countermeasures might be taken?

      2. How will the blackout affect people like Milton’s mother?

      3. Is the children’s revenge on the Amalgamated Conglomerated corporation proportional and just? Why might it ultimately prove self-defeating?

      4. Why might one say that the story ends as it began?

  5. In Katie Karambelas’ “Dear Prudence”:

    1. What does the title refer to?
    2. How did Prudence and Xavier separate? Does Prudence return to Xavier or does she meet him by accident? Why does she go and talk to him?
    3. Why does Xavier want to renew their relationship?
    4. What happened to Prudence’s and Xavier’s baby?
    5. Most of the story is devoted to Prudence’s interior monologue. What do she and Xavier actually say to each other?
    6. Bewildering Stories’ rules hold that someone must survive to tell the tale. Since Prudence is the narrator, the story cannot end with her death. After the end of the story, do you think she will jump or not?

Responses welcome!

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