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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 649

House Calls

  1. In Bertrand Cayzac’s “The Story of the Shaman and the Bucket,” how does the narration make ironic references to the readers’ experience?

  2. In Elous Telma’s “Nannion, the Unlikely Athenian Cat”:

    1. What does oikos mean, in Greek?
    2. A BwS principle: “If you have a good character, for pity‘s sake, don’t kill her!” Is the fate of the kindly old lady a disappointment or a portent of dread?
  3. In Terry L. Mirll’s “Karat Cake,” what do we learn about Frank Williamson in part 1? Is the altogether congenial? Surly? Opportunistic?

  4. In Bruce Pavalon’s “Umbrella”:

    1. Does Aaron find out what the mysterious umbrella is?
    2. Anini shoots Aaron with what amounts to a taser. Is she justified? How does Aaron react? How would you expect him to react?
  5. In Todd Glasscock’s “About Jake”:

    1. Is the story about Jake, nanosurgery or Jake’s parents?
    2. Science fiction tells readers what future technology does but not how it works. How does Jake’s nanosurgery overstep that rule? Would the outcome be changed if the procedure succeeded normally?
    3. Are Van’s and Zelda’s emotional conflicts ever resolved?
  6. In Harry Lang’s “Arabella of Radius Lane”:

    1. What is the “Thousand Years’ Horror”? Does anyone ever say what it is?
    2. The story seems to be set in an anti-scientific age. Judging by Arabella’s and Arn’s physiology, is the technology similarly backward?
    3. Why is Arabella surprised by the constable’s kindness? Why might the readers be surprised? What does science — be it astronomy or arithmetic — have to do with it?
  7. In Denny Marshall’s Long Journey”:

    1. What has taken a “long journey”?
    2. “Humming clouds” might make readers think of locusts. What tells us that the poem is really talking about radio astronomy?
  8. In Edward Ahern’s “Shambling,” the poem is based on words formed from a thematic root: -umble. English has many thematic word roots, such as -abble, -ibble and -obble, for starters. Write a poem based on a thematic root of your choice. You may even find a website that specializes in such things.

    Recipe: make an Excel spreadsheet with the alphabet down the left-hand column, “A.” In the next column, “B,”enter the root. In the third column, “C,” enter the formula =A1&B1. Fill down columns B and C. You can do likewise for columns that make consonantal blends with /r/ and /l/, e.g. br- and bl-. Delete the results that don’t form words. Enjoy.


Responses welcome!

date Copyright January 4, 2016 by Bewildering Stories
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