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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 608

Pick Your Pestilence

  1. In Boghos Artinian’s “You’re Not a Dog,” what might happen if the narrator tried to talk to his pet in “dog language”?

  2. In Mike Florian’s “The Man in the Fedora”:

    1. Why does Peter drag a luggage cart beside his car while he drives the car to a parking space? Why doesn’t he park first and then go look for a cart?
    2. What is the role of money in the story? Why does the man in the fedora simply leave in disgust?

  3. In Michael Murry’s “Unfair and Unbalanced”:

    1. The poem consists essentially of dueling diatribes. What does the rhyme scheme lend to the presentation? Would it be as interesting or even as readable in flat prose?
    2. What is the sarcasm in the title?

    3. Why does the “Madam” lapse into French on occasion? Does it denigrate the French or does it lend her an air of sophistication?

    4. The “blowhard host” systematically pronounces “Magdalene” as “Magdaline.” Since another word could have been used for the purpose of rhyme, what might the mispronunciation signify?

    5. Bonus question: Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. For what purpose was the medieval canard created?

  4. In John W. Steele’s The Chronicle of Belthaeous, “Jigme”:

    1. Does Jigme imply that Rodney’s experiences in chapters 9-12 have been a series of induced hallucinations?

    2. Jigme tells Rodney, “You believe it’s all right to kill [...] and to steal [...], as if the earth were [...] your own little candy shop.” Does Jigme’s reproach differ in any way from the philosophy of “Mammon” as espoused by Nacroanus and Jigme?

    3. Jigme seems to saying that he and Rodney are equally evil except that he, Jigme, is less evil for not being a hypocrite. Is Jigme’s reproach of hypocrisy valid? Is pure evil more moral than impure evil?

    4. In what ways might The Chronicle of Belthaeous resemble an inversion of Voltaire’s Candide?

      1. For example: How might Rodney resemble and differ from Candide? How might Dr. Nacroanus resemble and differ from Dr. Pangloss?
      2. Candide says, “If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?” How might Rodney paraphrase the question?
  5. In Shannon Snyder’s “The Tragedy of the Species”:

    1. The story is obviously Type 1 in the taxonomy described in “Space Aliens as Metaphor.” What minor change would make it Type 2?
    2. Why does Taylor resent her father? Does anything come of it besides a kind of reconciliation?

    3. Taylor, her father and their friends are surprised when the space aliens discover them. They have little reason to become complacent. Why the lapse in security?

    4. Why does Taylor’s father bother to synthesize “tetradoxine”? Is it really needed to trigger a bomb? Since it’s exactly what the space aliens need, might the compound serve better to lure them into an ambush?

    5. At the end, Taylor and Zeke await the explosion that would “signal the destruction of the Hive.” But the aliens have been mounting a massive invasion; do they have only one ship or aircraft? Might Taylor and her friends feel that they are now in greater danger than ever?


Responses welcome!

date Copyright February 16, 2015 by Bewildering Stories
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