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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 846


  1. In Charles C. Cole’s With Loss of Hands, why does Huntley prefer a ship to a tree as a metaphor for the company? What does he appear to expect to happen? Can you cite one or more actual occurrences of companies that have collapsed from mismanagement?

  2. In Shawn Jacobson’s Space Tapestry:

    1. The characters are never referred to by name. Why might avoiding names be an advantage in this particular story?
    2. Does the narrator succeed in resolving his problem of dealing with a controlling personality? If so, what will he do?
  3. In Melissa DeAmaral’s Lazy Evenings, does the poem end with a contradiction or a portent of doom?

  4. In Abigail George’s That Day on the Beach, does the conclusion overstep Bewildering Stories’ “dead narrators” guideline?

  5. In Michael Wooff’s Et In Arcadia Ego:

    1. What does the title mean in English? What does it imply about the narrator?
    2. The poem is ekphrastic. To what painting does it refer?
  6. In Robin Helweg-Larsen’s This Ape I Am:

    1. Why might one question the ape’s claim of limited numeracy?
    2. Does the ape appear to have eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge or the Tree of Life?
  7. In Carl Perrin’s Murdering Dorothy:

    1. Does the story overstep Bewildering Stories’ informal guideline conerning product placement advertising?
    2. Might the author or Bewildering Stories expect visits from various companies’ legal departments? Men in black? Black helicopters? Surveillance by home appliances?

  8. In Natan Dubovitsky’s Near Zero, Chapter 9:

    1. Yegor, Igor and Yvetta are threatened with a summary execution in public. What appears to be the reason for it? They are accosted by “young thugs from the first democratic wave.” What is that “democratic wave,” and who was in it?

    2. “Boot sends his regards.” Who is Boot? “Give our regards to Uncle Akhmet.” Who is Uncle Akhmet?

    3. Chernenko, Yegor and, presumably, Yvetta enter “a building constructed in Stalin’s time as a palatial communal residential building that was now occupied by people of various classes and occupations.” What do the architecture and occupancy imply about social class in the Soviet Union and afterwards?

  9. In Bill Kowaleski’s Andrew Comes Out:

    1. What is the narrative function of the “animated, three-way conversation” at the back of the press conference?

    2. Is the power plant construction just beginning or is it far along? Has the sudden and apparently miraculous discovery of practical fusion power been given a false explanation prior to the news conference, or has it been simply taken for granted?

    3. Dr. Landis is identified as a slender, middle-aged black man while McDermott is an athletic-looking “Caucasian,” i.e. white. What color is everybody else? Why the racial emphasis? And Mary Steenman knows that Dr. Landis is “famous”; why has she never seen a photo of him before?

    4. A reporter asks whether the Cyganians adhere to one particular religion that is native to Earth. Why does the reporter choose that religion to the exclusion of all others? Why does the reporter not ask what religions the Cygnians might have?

    5. The Cygnian says, “We do not believe in any supreme universal power. Only hierarchical species have such beliefs.” How can the Cygnian stereotype entire species? Might any clues raise doubt that the Cygnian is telling the whole truth about his own kind? What Cygnian relationship in chapter 4 seems to be “hierarchical”?

    6. McDermott says of the proposed excursion to a planet other than Cygnus Prime: “Everyone who thinks he or she matters in this world wants to go!” Does he mean, “will want to go”? What does McDermott seem to imply about anyone who might not be able to make the trip or feel the need to do so?

    Responses welcome!

    date Copyright © March 2, 2020 by Bewildering Stories
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