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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 673

Gloat ’Em While You Got ’Em

  1. In Jeff Dosser’s “Mr. Smiley,” if Dan can’t recognize Mr. Smiley, when Mr. Smiley has suddenly become old, how will he be able to recognize Grace Davis, who has suddenly become young?

  2. In Douglas Young’s “A Modest Proposal for Hell”:

    1. Would “contemplating each time we succumbed to temptation” necessarily be a punishment for everybody? Might not those most deserving of “hell” be inclined to gloat?
    2. What if one believes in no afterlife and in neither Heaven nor Hell? Would psychological torture, e.g. solitary confinement, suffice?
  3. In Ada Fetters’ “Ambi-Man”:

    1. Why is the “dummy” called “Ambi-Man”? Is the name short for “ambulance man” or, perhaps, “ambiguous man”?
    2. For what reasons, apparently, did Noreen’s partner leave her? What feelings does Ambi-Man have for her?
  4. In Stephen Ellams’ “What Lies Beneath”:

    1. In the last line, whom does “her” refer to?
    2. Who is Aries, and what does the reference mean?
    3. What other nautical imagery is used in the poem?
    4. Does the narrator blame “Ellie” or himself for lost love?
  5. In Bill Prindle’s “Mere Chance”:

    1. Chance’s luck is not all bad, far from it. What good fortune befalls him?
    2. What does Wolfe gain by acquiring souls such as Fintan Connelly‘s and Chance’s?
    3. What are Chance’s weaknesses, and how did he lose his moral compass? As a Bible student in his youth, what might he have learned about spending money wisely?
    4. American culture has always lived in tension — cognitive dissonance, if you will — between liberty and equality. Does Chance do anything to illustrate the principle by which that tension can be held in balance?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright July 4, 2016 by Bewildering Stories
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