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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 576

Apocalypses Then and Now

  1. In Don Webb’s review of Eric H. Cline’s 1177 B.C., is there any part of the “future history” that is not already true, or in the process of coming true, or likely to happen?

  2. In Charles C. Cole’s “This Means Warma,” the mysterious note-writer has an oral or graphical handicap: he substitutes [w] for [k]. But he can use [k]. Where does it occur? The substitution occurs only in what phonetic position?

  3. In Jeremy Szal’s “Contact Zero”:

    1. Why, exactly, do the colonists not want to be rescued?
    2. Are Sullivan and his team justified in acceding to the colonist leader’s request?
    3. Is “Contact Zero” a self-contained story? Why might it appear to be part of a larger work?
  4. In Walter Giersbach’s “Dancing with the Jersey Devil”:

    1. Why does Alicia go to the old manse? What is a manse?
    2. Does Alicia’s grandfather ask her to bring him back anything from the old house?
    3. Is the character of Alicia consistent? What different personas does she seem to have?
    4. Alicia drinks Budweiser beer at one point. Product placement advertising aside, what does the brand appear to signify in terms of social status?
  5. In Brooke Bartleson’s “Emmaline and Alander”:

    1. How does Emmaline feel about Alander?
    2. Does anyone else notice Emmaline’s scar or Alander’s head wound?
    3. Were any of Emmaline’s four children born alive? Is Emmaline’s depression due to their deaths or is it a chronic state of mind? Why do Emmaline and Alander do what they do?

    4. The plot is based on an endlessly repeating cycle sometimes known as “eternal return.” Do Emmaline and Alander remember or learn anything from their previous incarnations or do they continuously relive an eddy in the stream of time? How would the story have to change if the theme of “return” were omitted?

    5. Does the plot overstep Bewildering Stories’ guideline about stories that end with “but it was all a dream” or the equivalent?

Responses welcome!

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