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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 544

Sand in the Gears

  1. In Edward Ahern’s “After Taste”:

    1. Is Roger delusional? If so, what really happens in his apartment?
    2. Is Roger haunted? If so, does Joyce’s ghost show she’s learned something?
    3. What does Roger learn about himself, especially about his feelings for Joyce?
    4. What might happen to Larry?
  2. In Megan Lokensgard’s “Oatmeal Girl”:

    1. What seems to motivate Hailie’s acceptance of her stepfather? Is there a progression in her feelings about him?
    2. The story ends with a kind of poetic justice for Janie as well as a kind of admonition to Hailey. What logical problem might be raised by Hailey’s view of Janie and her father?
  3. In Ann K. Williams’ “Coming Undone”:

    1. Is the narrator male or female? Does it matter?
    2. What is the function of the ring? Does the narrator ever find out what it does?
    3. Does the story overstep Bewildering Stories’ guideline against plots that end with “But it was all a dream” or the equivalent?
  4. In Tim Simmons’ “What Grandma Done”:

    1. Grandpa has to tell Hannah what is essentially a story within the story. Can it be done in any other way than by embedded narration and dialogue?
    2. At the end, who speaks the last words: Grandpa, Grandma or something else?
    3. Need Hannah be told the truth? Why not tell Hannah that Grandma has run away with old Cletis and offer Hannah some apple pie to distract her till after sunset?
    4. Why might Hannah notw keep “Grandpa’s” secret? Will she return to spend the night at her grandparents’ farm?
  5. In Garin G. Webb’s “The Devil in Blues, Ragtime and Jazz”:

    1. The devil is a time-honored figure in literature. Does it seem to have a similar role or importance in music?
    2. New schools and trends in the arts have always met with reluctant acceptance and even resistance in some quarters. What makes the blues, ragtime and jazz a special case?

Responses welcome!

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