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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 552


  1. Explain the title of this Challenge.

  2. In Richard Ong’s “Coronal Mass Ejection”: What might be the consequences of a CME viewed head-on rather than in profile?

  3. In Visalakshi Viswanathan’s “Somewhere in Gundaroo”:

    1. What is the easiest way for the reader to ascertain that the Australian idiom is authentic?
    2. According to the poem, what might be the effects of genetically modified organisms, particularly food?
  4. In O. D. Hegre’s “The Guardian”:

    1. Would the story change significantly if Ramón did not find the rubies on the table in the colonel’s room?
    2. Many gemstones have a more or less traditional symbolism associated with them. What symbolism is associated with rubies?
    3. Ramón thinks of having the rubies made into a necklace for his wife. Would that bring good or bad luck?
  5. In João Ventura’s, “RTFM”:

    1. What is Steve’s tragic flaw?
    2. Does Aunt Bessie’s book indicate that Steve’s fate might be the same or different if he engaged in unprotected time travel again?
    3. How does Steve feel about Aunt Bessie? How would you write a sequel? What if Steve repeated the experiment? What if Aunt Bessie came back?
  6. In Charles C. Cole’s “Silverfish”:

    1. What might be the significance of the title?
    2. How are Lane and Audra depicted by their conflicts? Do they agree on anything?
    3. How does Audra seem to feel about Logan and his mother?
    4. Why might Logan find Audra’s “PTSD” story plausible?
  7. In Rudy Ravindra’s “The Ambitious Girl”:

    1. What are the time and place of the setting of the story?
    2. Stella does not have an Indian name. Why might that be?
    3. Stella is ambitious, but what kind of “girl” is she: scheming or honest?
    4. Vanita has only a brief, walk-on part. What is her function in the story?
    5. What is the function of the sex scenes in the story?
    6. How might Mr. & Mrs. Kaul’s increasing fondness for Stella have been depicted?
    7. In what way are Satish and Stella prisoners of their own preconceptions? Do they ever consider marriage?

Responses welcome!

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