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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 556

How to Here from There?

  1. In Abbigail N. Rosewood’s “The Letum Drive”:

    1. At the end, Alexandro’s treatment works for Cory but not for Virginia. Why?
    2. Does Virginia commit suicide or is her death an accident, Alexandro’s remedy gone wrong?
    3. The “hope” serum works for everyone but the protesters, for whom it seems to have the opposite effect. Why?
  2. In Robert J. Meindl’s “Sea Geese”:

    1. The author knows that the adjective form of “Styx” is “Stygian.” Why might the neologism “styxic” be a trouvaille, i.e. particularly appropriate?

    2. Some of the stanzas are subtitled according to their rhetorical classification. How do these labels change the point of view? How might they affect the readers’ perception of the poem? How would the poem change if they were omitted?

  3. In Kumaar Pradhan’s “Black Pal”:

    1. “Pal” can be understood as a diminutive of “friend,” but in the context of the essay the word is not idiomatic in North American English. Can you think of a different title for the essay?

    2. Is it necessary to know that the action takes place in India in order to understand the author’s use of the word “untouchable”?

    3. In a classic fable, animals act more or less like animals but talk and think like human beings. The essay is only a partial fable: in what way do the crows not act like real crows? If the essay were a classic fable, what might the crow say if it talked to the narrator?

  4. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s “Working People,” is International Biotec doing good work or bad? Are there any heroes in the story? Villains? Are Johnson and Tubbs misguided?

  5. In David Brookes’ “Jason’s Solution”:

    1. What might be the first indication in the story that something is a little strange, not quite right about Jason?

    2. Jason tells Phoebe, “It’s not exactly science...” Does Jason ever answer Phoebe’s question? If what Jason is doing is not science, what is it?

    3. Jason tells Phoebe, “This is not a cure. You must understand that from the outset. It’s as good as. But it’s not a cure.” — And yet, at the end, Phoebe seems to be as good as new. If she is not “cured,” what is her condition? And how does she feel about inhabiting a body transplant? Or is the entire story a wish-fulfillment dream on her part?

    4. Where do Jason’s “consensual” subjects come from? How does he acquire and keep them? And why is his laboratory so dirty? Is Jason a Frankenstein?

    5. Jason’s medical “procedures” are obviously unethical, not to mention illegal. If the police discovered his laboratory, what would they charge him with?

Responses welcome!

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