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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 586

Who’s Got the Circlet?

  1. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s “The Man Who Couldn’t Fly”:

    1. What does the title refer to?
    2. Does the swordfight between Jonas and the “target” seem to depict “collateral damage” in real combat or does it parody combat video games?
    3. The anecdote seems to be a chapter in a larger story. What might that story be?
  2. In Morris Marshall’s “Visiting Hours,” it is plausible that John, the narrator, might feel remiss in not haviing attended his friend Vinnie’s funeral. Why might he have such a melodramatic nightmare about it?

  3. In Charles C. Cole’s “To the Devil His Due”:

    1. It is plausible that “Dad” could wish figuratively he could trade his soul for a year free of pain. Is it plausible that he could take the wish as literally as he does?
    2. The explanation of the soul’s function may be adequate, as far as it goes, but what does it seem to gloss over?
  4. In Sarah Ann Watts’ Winter Ship, “Circle of Fire”:

    1. Why do Lorcan, Daan and Naraya confuse “sorcery” with knowledge that is specialized but nonetheless common?
    2. Who has taken Kyran’s magic circlet? Would it benefit the thief or is Kyran the only one who can use it, the only one who has the password, so to speak?

  5. In “Children of the Falcon”:

    1. Kyran is not entirely deprived of magical powers after all. What magic does he use on the trek towards Mathuin’s cave?

    2. Mathuin has not been mentioned before. What prior connection does Kyran seem to have with him?
    3. Why might the cause of the bruise on Naraya’s head remain a mystery?

    4. Naraya can perform magic of her own; she makes a show of reading Kyran’s mind. When she tells Daan and Lorcan, “There is no lie in his thoughts,” is she, herself, lying or is she simply an inept mind-reader? How might Naraya, Daan and Lorcan feel when they realize that Kyran has been concealing a large part of the truth about his choice of path in the mountains?

    5. How might the story change if Kyran were female?
    6. Kyan says of Mathuin’s munificence: “I am surprised that a chief who lives in caves has such resources, but I am not fool enough to show it.” What does he mean by “I am not fool enough to show it”? What is Kyran afraid of?

    7. What is the “Children’s salute”? Do all shapeshifters have a signal of recognition in common? Why might readers object that Mathuin is not a “child of the falcon”?

    8. Do you expect Daan, Lorcan and Naraya to accompany Kyran willingly across the desert? To try to kill him in retribution for betrayal? Or to abandon him out of disgust for his double-dealing?

Responses welcome!

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