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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 840

Poem-Packin’ Mama

  1. In Natan Dubovitsky’s Near Zero, how does Yegor’s and Algoltsov’s haggling over the price of poetry echo — inadvertently, of course — Cyrano de Bergerac’s “Brother, Can You Spare an Eclogue?”

  2. In Howard Vogl’s Under the Clay Pots:

    1. Why might Sarah or Kevin’s parents disbelieve Kevin’s account of writing a story broadcast on the old-fashioned radio? Is Kevin’s story a risky exercise in misinformation?
    2. Now that Sarah knows of Kevin’s written account of Edith’s murder, what shall she do when and if Edith’s remains are discovered under the clay pots?
    3. Does Kevin’s mother forgive him for committing the murder?
  3. In Nikki Everts’ A Life of Crime:

    1. In what ways does Eloise feel she is treated with condescension? Why does she feel exploited?
    2. How lucky is Eloise? Can she always take Canadian politeness for granted? At what point does she put herself in harm’s way?
    3. Ideally, how might Eloise have time to write her novel without having to turn to a “life of crime”?
  4. In Dan Reed’s The Real Thing:

    1. Why does Lucas break off his date with Avery?
    2. What does the “Synch” program seem to do? What are its disadvantages?
    3. Do the space aliens have the same problems as Earthlings? How might the story play out if Avery were human?
    4. Can the story be read as a satire of virtual dating, real dating or both?
  5. In Amber Ray’s If Wishes Were Horses:

    1. At what point in the story does “Sammy” become Samantha? At what point does “Hen-ree” become Henry?
    2. How many social and personal conflicts does the story portray? What are they?
    3. Does the story take place at any specific geographical location? How many are mentioned or alluded to?
    4. How does the author achieve some of the effects of a prose poem in the “Iron Horse” scene?
    5. In what ways does the Iron Horse itself become a wish?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright © January 20, 2020 by Bewildering Stories
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