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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 545

News from Under- and Overground

  1. In Margaret Karmazin’s “Why You Haven’t Heard From Me”:

    1. What are the major themes of the story?
    2. What allegories might the story represent? Might it have passed for dissident literature in the Soviet Union? Why might it be suspect in any dictatorship?
    3. Guang is clearly the most emotionally affected by imprisonment. What might account for the narrator’s relative stoicism?
    4. Why have the intelligence agencies above ground come to a stand-off with the descendants of the space aliens underground? Do they have a particular reason or do they fear a vague threat?
  2. In Jason C. Ford’s “A Path Into the Raging Water”:

    1. The second stanza can be read as being exceedingly humorous, for at least two reasons. What are they? Hint: What costume prop was commonly used in ancient Greek comedy? Do you think the effect is intentional or inadvertent?
    2. What grammatical correction might be made in the third stanza?
  3. In Rick Deitrick’s “The Cold Call”:

    1. Ms. Bleck’s and Mr. Wilson’s blatant cynicism may seem refreshing up to a point. Why? At what point does it become repetitious?
    2. Is there any way to rearrange the conversation and make it end by having Mr. Wilson ask Ms. Bleck for a date? What might their life as a couple be like?
  4. In Yuliya Klochan’s “World on Fire”:

    1. In this version of the Prometheus myth, why did Prometheus give humanity fire the first time? Why the second time, on “another planet”?
    2. What indicates that “fire” is not to be taken literally? What might it refer to figuratively?
  5. In Neil Armstrong’s “The Golden Tears”:

    1. What double meaning might the title have?
    2. The exchange between the bishop and Lloyd appears to serve an allegorical purpose, but how does it relate to the story of Jacob and Elizabeth?

Responses welcome!

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