Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 588

An End to a Means

There may be a harder way to do this, but I can’t think of one.
— a Bewildering Stories motto

  1. In Charles C. Cole’s “The Platonic Friends Society,” what are the elements of humor? What does the sketch satirize?

  2. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “The Last Empty Seat”:

    1. Why do the Klansmen appear at Miss Annie’s house?
    2. What happens to Robert?
    3. The plot relies to an extent on the dramatic device deus ex machina. How many are there in the story?
  3. In Patricia Tyrer’s “Reminiscent of Copper Cove,” The plot might be characterized as a story about a story or perhaps even two stories. How might Detective Jansen’s investigation proceed in a sequel?

  4. In Gary Clifton’s “Perception of Frailty”:

    1. Flannigan notes that Shimanski has no vehicle large enough to carry the replacement machine from Cleveland to Dallas. How was the original machine transported?
    2. What is the dramatic function of Flannigan’s ailment? Why does it disappear suddenly? Vertigo causes severe loss of balance. How can Flannigan walk, let alone drive a car?

    3. Shimanski is shaken by Flannigan’s report of the casualties in the fire and yet he already knows of them. Is Shimanski’s remorse genuine or is it an act for Flannigan’s benefit?

    4. Can the gasoline cans found in Dallas plausibly be traced to Shimanski’s workshop?
    5. Why did Shimanski have to drive to Dallas to forge a new serial number on the original machine? Couldn’t the Botlers have done it themselves and simply pretended to pay for new equipment?

    6. When the Botlers reneged on paying the bribe, could Shimanski have exacted a safer and surer revenge by reporting the fraud to the authorities?
  5. In Sarah Ann Watts’ Winter Ship, “Ice and Time”:

    1. Does Kyran have the ability to shape-shift into other forms than the falcon? Does anyone else?
    2. Is Razvan equal or inferior in status to Daan, Lorcan and Naraya?

    3. Kyran is astounded at failing to recognize Naraya as the Sky Lord. Has he had a reason to suspect she is an elemental being?

    4. Kyran refers to an “endless war between kingdoms.” What kingdoms, and what war?

    5. The Winter Ship supposedly sails once a year. Does Kyran know the schedule for a fact or is the yearly departure a legend? Why does “year” seem not to be meant literally?

    6. Kyran notes that Razvan’s coin has Majvaz’ face on it. Does Kyran attach any particular importance to the image? Why might the coin seem ordinary? Why might it seem out of place?

    7. Kyran remembers “another tale of a princess who had a splinter of ice in her heart.” Why does he remember it? What is that tale?

    8. In chapters 1 through 11, Kyran is a prisoner used and abused by various people including his own family. How might chapter 12 suggest that Kyran is lapsing into insanity, withdrawing into the delusion of a storybook fantasy world?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2014 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page