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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 574

Real Reality

  1. In Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s “Bin There, Dumb That”:

    1. To what audience would you say the essay is addressed?
    2. In what way might “I hope it stays open, and I also hope it closes” not be a contradiction?

    3. Why are the historical and literary references deliberately garbled?

    4. Does the essay plead for poverty and austerity or does it do the opposite?

    5. How might the essay apply to literature in the age of the Internet? Is the Internet itself a “Bulk Goodwill” store, and are we really Pod People?

  2. In Charles C. Cole’s “Frank Spooner’s Last Words”:

    1. In what way might the name of the “reality host” be humorous?
    2. Why has Frank Spooner agreed to be interviewed?

    3. How has Frank Spooner benefited incidentally by agreeing to a public execution? How is the audience supposed to benefit from watching it?

    4. What is the hypocrisy in “We’re going to cut to a commercial while the lethal injection is applied”?

    5. To what extent does this story not overstep our guideline “Any story based on current events is out of date before it’s written.” To what extent might it apply to current events?

  3. In Danielle L. Parker’s “The Deathless Hand”:

    1. Who is “the man from Lubyanka”: Gagarin or Koschey?
    2. Koschey is an actor; Gagarin, an interlocutor. Why choose the famous name of a cosmonaut for a minor character?

    3. To what Russian and Chinese legends does the story allude?

    4. Dr. Arshavin says that he and Dr. Filakov had discovered the secret of halting the aging process. There is only one way to halt the aging process, and it’s hardly a secret. What is the poetic justice in Filakov’s and Arshavin’s awful fates?

  4. In E. B. Fischadler’s “A Promise Kept”:

    1. Victor seems to have a case of almost complete amnesia and knows only what he’s told. Why does he accept Mary Shelly’s fiction as fact and believe he is Frankenstein’s original creation?

    2. Is Victor scary to look at or isn’t he? He seems to function normally in society. He knows his appearance doesn’t matter to Elizabeth anyway. Is Victor’s fugue due to unearned guilt or is he just being cautious?

Responses welcome!

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