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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 562

Prescript or Postscript?

  1. In Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu’s “Group Photo With Fishermen,” explain the conclusion.

  2. In William Q. Belle’s “Hugh Has a Grand Day”:

    1. Are the people in the coffee shop actually friendly or does Hugh just imagine they might be? Is it possible to say for sure what is reality and what is fantasy for Hugh?
    2. The difference between daydream and reality might be indicated typographically, e.g. by italics or block-quoted text. Is it even possible — let alone practical — to do so?
    3. In any case, how do Hugh’s experiences differ from those of James Thurber’s Walter Mitty?
    4. What kind of “appointment” might Hugh be going to keep?
  3. In Phil Temples’ “Jenna”:

    1. What clues early in the story tell us that Jenna might be human — or at least some other primate?
    2. “Special mentality” stories are well known in science fiction, e.g. Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” (1958) and Poul Anderson’s Brain Wave (1953). How does “Jenna” resemble such stories? How does it differ?
    3. Is the story a fable? If so, what is the moral? If not, same question.
  4. In David Cleden’s “Going by the Book”:

    1. At the end, was Kenny Hardwick wrong to pursue his dream of a career in popular music?
    2. At what points does the mysterious book appear to Kenny? Why at those moments rather than others? Why can’t he find the book when he looks for it?
    3. Judging by what Rebecca finds in the book, would Kenny Hardwick have found in it anything he didn’t know?
    4. What does the story imply about fate or foreknowlege or predestination?
  5. In Maureen L. Falkowitz’ “Sheila and the Gypsy,” the story of Abednego and Sheila resembles that of Romeo and Juliet. What is the moral of Sheila’s taking a broad historical view of it?

  6. In Bill Kowaleski’s “The Vanishing Hairdresser,” what further adventures might await Sean and Cindy? Or, for that matter, Wolf and the hairdresser? Or trade and tourism between Earth and Sirius Prime? Or... you name it.

Responses welcome!

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