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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 557

Road Closed Both Ways

  1. In Charles C. Cole’s “The Bitter Dead,” how do the characters differ from those in Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit?

  2. In Sherman Smith’s Two Blind Men and a Fool, chapters 20 and 21 recapitulate some of the events that have transpired so far. How does each chapter open the way to further plot developments? What do you think they might be?

  3. In Christina Ferrari’s “Intercity Express”:

    1. Why is the boy the only one who knows that all the passengers have been killed in a train collision?
    2. What does it mean that the passengers discover that the chicken has died of injuries?
  4. In D. Keramitas’ “How I Met My Stalker”:

    1. Is Mary Beth really a stalker?
    2. At what point does the narrator himself become a stalker?
  5. In Morris Marshall’s “The Banned-Aid Solution”:

    1. Why might George Saunders suspect that Alfred Tarkington is not an “intern,” as Tarkington’s badge proclaims him to be? If Tarkington is an intern, what might Saunders conclude about the real importance of the position for which he is being interviewed?

    2. Does prohibition of consumption not also imply prohibition of production? What happens to a police-state economy?

    3. How might a population resist surveillance by the Internet of Things?

  6. In Nathan Elberg’s “Dancing With Whiskey Jack”:

    1. What accounts for the time-shifts that Albert and Gary experience when they transport Wisahkeczak?

    2. Does Wisahkeczak ever lie? Does she ever speak less than the plain truth?

    3. How might Wisahkeczak resemble or differ from the trickster gods and goddesses — or, perhaps, the oracles — in the folklore of other cultures?

    4. What tragic flaw or flaws do Albert and Gary have?

Responses welcome!

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