Beware of Improvements
In Michael C. Tuggle’s “Snake Heart,” Carina is interested in real people rather than in the “Grid.” What psychological impairment has been found to correlate with the spread of “social media” since the year 2000?
In Visalakshi Viswanathan’s “My Doppelgänger,” what point does the poem make about the origin of a sense of morality?
In Andrew Vrana’s “Before the Last Hope Leaves,” what accounts for Deren’s feeling of isolation at the beginning of the story?
In Sherman Smith’s “Last Call,” where does Gibby die? Why is he discovered belatedly by Brooks rather than immediately?
In Gary Clifton’s “The Never Index”:
Why is Elena carrying such important information in her implanted microchip? Does her mission require it or is the story satirizing bureaucratic stupidity regarding possible security breaches?
- The future history setting is science fiction, of course; is it really implausible?
The U.S. Marines are noted for “leaving no man behind.” How do the “assets” Elena and Barzak differ from soldiers? What does the story imply about the nature of the entities in conflict?
In James Schaffer’s “The Red Gas Can”:
The narrative shifts from third to first person when the hitchhiker is given a ride. Is the change a point of view error or might there be a stylistic reason for it?
Do we ever learn the main character’s name? At the end of the story, somebody is called “Bob.” Who is it? Is it the same person as in the sheriff’s account of the ghost rider?
Does the story justify the moral about the gas can’s symbolic value? What other function do the gas cans seem to have?
In Bertil Falk’s “A Surprise at Starbucks”:
- Is the story a sequel or a postscript to “A Cosmic Matchmaker”?
The narration says, “Nobody could accuse Billie of being a perfect mother.” Indeed, that seems to be a monumental understatement. What very pointed advice might Lars give Billie concerning the children’s names and the risks involved in their unsupervised “bilocation”?
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