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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 581

Wine-Soaked the Rushes Are

  1. In William Quincy Belle’s “The Hole in the Closet”:

    1. What kind of “slippers” does Jack seem to be wearing?
    2. Is the story complete or is it an anecdote?
    3. If “The Hole in the Closet” is a story, is it actually the first chapter in a longer work? How might the larger story proceed and conclude?
  2. In Heather J. Frederick’s “Confabulators Anonymous”:

    1. Is Peter as gullible as he seems to be?
    2. How should his last thought be taken: literally? As irony? In some other way?
  3. In Tantra Bensko’s Equinox Mirror, “Lucky Goes to the Costume Store”:

    1. In what way are the male and female Luckys in a similar situation?
    2. What might be the function of Lady Lucky’s scrying the beach party?
  4. In Bill Kowaleski’s “Sex, Oak and Rock’n Roll”:

    1. Even though the Sirian criminals feel only contempt for Earthlings, why might one conclude that they are incredibly careless?
    2. How might the story proceed if the Sirians did not have the magical “protection field” and the psionic interrogator?
    3. How might Cindy play a more important role?
  5. In Judith Field’s “Transit of Mars”:

    1. Where is Fran located? Why haven’t she and Jimmy met before? Do they work for the same company?
    2. Mars’ close approach to Earth in 2003 was, of course, not a “transit” in astronomical terms. What was it? What makes the term appropriate in the story?
    3. Is Fran falling from one trap into another? Before pushing Jimmy, Fran turns her face away from the cameras watching the station platform. Current TV crime dramas dwell heavily on the theme of the “surveillance state,” and in all of them Fran would be identified and charged with murder.
    4. Is Fran’s way of “fighting back” justified? Can you think of a way she might beat Jimmy at his own game?
  6. In Sarah Ann Watts’ Winter Ship, “Birds of Prey”:

    1. What does the presence of rushes on the floor of the banquet hall tell the reader about the condition of the hall? What does the floor covering imply about the condition of the kingdom?
    2. Kyran is nominally male. What does his sexual orientation seem to be?
    3. The king is in poor health, and Majvaz is the presumptive heir. What is Kyran’s position in the line of succession?
    4. What is Kyran’s personal agenda? What proposal does he make to the Empire’s ambassador, and why?

Responses welcome!

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