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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 554

Both Here and There

  1. Soggy woggy doodle all the day:

    1. In how many stories and poems in this issue does water play a crucial role?
    2. How many include death by drowning?
    3. How many have suicides?
    4. Can we buy a ticket on your Ark, Mr. Noah?
  2. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “Death Among the Apples,” what does the reader need to know about the life, literary work, and death of Virginia Woolf in order to understand the poem?

  3. In Visalakshi Viswanathan’s “In Memphis”:

    1. Why does the reader not have to know in advance the roles of Ra, Apophis and Sekhmet in Egyptian mythology in order to understand the poem?
    2. In what way are the rhymes comical? Is the account of the action comical?
    3. Children — as well as adults — might be an ideal audience for this poem. To what age group would you recommend it?
    4. Judging by current events, has anything really changed in the last four thousand years?
  4. In Roch Carrier’s “Coming Home, Going Home”:

    1. Which two people in the story are noted as speaking with an “accent”?
    2. Is the story about young Roch Carrier? His parents? Sister Brigitte? No. What is the story really about?
  5. In John F. Keane’s “Lord of Time”:

    1. What does the poem imply about the concept of a Golden Age?
    2. Is the poem lyrical or philosophical or both? What constitutes the humor of the poem? In what way is the title ironic?
    3. Which topos does the poem illustrate:
  6. In Sam Bellotto Jr.’s “Finding Miss Penelope”:

    1. What is the relationship between Miss Penelope and Euclid?
    2. Why is the late heroine named “Penelope”? Why might the robot be named “Euclid”?
    3. Why is it important that Euclid be a robot — or android — rather than a human being?
    4. Is Euclid immortal? Could he be?
  7. In Colin W. Campbell’s “The Chess Player of the Desert”:

    1. Are any of the characters named? How are they designated?
    2. What passages in Sun Tzu’s Art of War might the story illustrate?
    3. What historical military campaigns might resemble that of the story?
    4. Does the military strategy resemble that in the record of any particular chess match?
  8. In Sherman Smith’s Two Blind Men and a Fool:

    1. In chapter 16, with what people is the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” historically associated?
    2. In chapter 16, does the story become an opera?
    3. What does Ivory’s vision of “Sarge” imply about Herbert Mann?
    4. In chapter 17, in what ways does the action in Gibby’s bar reprise the shipboard action that Earl has just seen in his memory?
  9. In Ross Smeltzer’s “The Masque of Ascension”:

    1. What might be the significance of the title?
    2. What is the significance of the rhinosceros?
    3. How does Christina feel about the other masked revelers? Does she differ from them in any significant way?
    4. The story falls into the genre of stories about a genie in a bottle. It parallels Balzac’s La Peau de chagrin, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and W. W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw.” Can you name others?
  10. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “The Last Rose of Summer”:

    1. Draw a family tree to illustrate the relationships of Martin, Donna, John and Elizabeth.
    2. Does Elizabeth explain why she did not destroy the letter she refers to? What was in the letter?
    3. Did John commit suicide or did jealous rage cause him to become careless?
    4. What is the function of the angry bull in the story?
    5. Does Martin attempt suicide rationally or impulsively? Might he try again?
    6. What is the function of color in the story? The function of art?
    7. Martin says, “I’m eight years old again and I can see ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ as though it was yesterday.” Does Martin see the painting as a eight-year old or as an adult seeing himself as an eight-year old?
    8. Trace the theme of isolation and abandonment in the story.

Responses welcome!

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