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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 795

Word Has It That...

All I know is what I read in the newspapers. — Will Rogers

  1. In Gordon Sun’s Right to Live:

    1. The setting is a near-future dystopia. What might cause the nearly unlivable conditions? What makes the setting “near future” rather than “medium term” or “far future”?
    2. In Sue and Danny Miller’s society, what groups have access to health care? Who doesn’t?
  2. In Charles C. Cole’s Beauregard the Beatific:

    1. In what way does the ending recall the film Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), starring José Ferrer?
    2. How might Beauregard react at his wedding when he sees that Mitzi is a bridesmaid and that the bride is Angela, who swashbuckles in her wedding gown with a sword and plumed hat?
  3. In Jen Durbent’s Your Walls Can Talk:

    1. What is the significance of the reference to Mad Magazine?
    2. Why might Ada’s boyfriend have left her?
    3. How does the story satirize a possible ill effect of “social” media?
  4. In Arthur Jackson’s The Unexpected Friend:

    1. At what point does Sky decide that Dr. Brant is telling the truth? Why might Sky accept Dr. Brant as an authority?
    2. Does Dr. Brant impart any real information other than his name and means of communication? In what way is his message self-contradictory?
    3. In what way might Sky’s personal life make her susceptible to Dr. Brant’s message of fear?
    4. Why does Bethany grab the steering wheel?
    5. At the end, Sky plans to convey Dr. Brant’s message to Amish famers. What is the irony in her doing so?
  5. In Gary Clifton’s The Dragon Slayer’s Helper:

    1. What is the geography of the story? How many borders must Gilbreath cross in order to return home?
    2. Does the Dragon Slayer have trouble remembering names or does he really know Gilbreath’s name but refuse to use it? Does the Dragon Slayer himself have a name?
    3. How do readers know that the Dragon Slayer is actually an incompetent hunter?
    4. When and why does the Dragon Slayer change his mind and decide to bury the unicorn horn rather than sell it?
    5. Why did the Dragon Slayer not know of the king’s plan to capture a unicorn for a wedding present? Why might the king have chosen that particular present for his bride?
    6. Bonus question: How does baldness function for characterization in Gary Clifton’s fiction generally? What would readers infer if the character had some hair and used it as a “comb-over”?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright February 4, 2019 by Bewildering Stories
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