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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 641

Smoke That Ghostly Cigarette

  1. In Mike Acker’s “Sharp Edges,” in what way is the poem a sequel to the author’s “Alan,” in issue 637?

  2. In Gregg Dotoli’s “Seeds,” how might the poem echo — albeit distantly — Mike Acker’s “Sharp Edges” and “Alan”?

  3. In Richard Ong’s “Smoking Ghost,” discounting cigarette or pipe smoke, which seems very unlikely, what do you think might account for the ghostly Halloween apparition? Can you see a hand half-hidden in the weirdly wafting fumes?

  4. In Bertrand Cayzac’s “The Seventh Ennead”:

    1. Lorenzo de’ Medici and the beauteous investment advisor both offer Stuart Surof “investment contracts.” In what way are they Faustian bargains?
    2. In what way is Surof’s vision of the “supermarket” and the role of “heavenly money” a vision of Creation itself?

  5. In Ian Anderson’s “The Home of Gifts”:

    1. At what point might readers suspect that the old man is the person whom Detective Mark Sands is looking for?
    2. Why does the detective refuse the offer of the fishing lures?
    3. In what way does the detective seem to operate contrary to the police procedures one would normally expect?
    4. What character flaws does the old man attribute to Detective Sands? Does the detective have any reason to believe him? Do the readers?
  6. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s “Scheduled for Demolition”:

    1. Why does the narrator photograph the interior of an abandoned building?
    2. Might the two boys help confirm the information in the secret documents?
    3. The narrator discovers Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese names in the documents. In view of the hotel’s age, what is the significance of the nationalities?

    4. Where might the old hotel be located? What went on in the rooms on floor 7½?
    5. If the photographs and documents were not stolen and lost, would they tell us anything we don’t already know or could know? How does the story duplicate our general awareness of history in the middle of the 20th century?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright October 26, 2015 by Bewildering Stories
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