Bewildering Stories

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Challenge 96

From “Tanforan” to the present

First, an unofficial Challenge borrowed from the Readers’ Guide, as a warm-up: What is the powder horn at the end of “A Minotaur-So After High Noon”?

I realize this is a recast of Challenge 94, but I believe that aspiring writers can learn new techniques from their colleagues, and readers can learn to appreciate new ways of looking at things. And lest anyone think I’m being overly “professorial” about this, keep in mind that the Challenges almost always represent the very things that authors have had to consider when plotting their stories.

Now please tell me if you disagree — on a scale of zero to anything — but the more I’ve followed Tala Bar’s Gaia and Ian Donnell Arbuckle’s Made It Way Up, the more I think that each author has chosen exactly the right points of view for what they’ve set out to do.

The first Challenge is easy: Why would the point of view in Made It Way Up not have worked in Gaia? Would a narrative like that of Gaia have worked as well in Made It Way Up? If not, why not?

Back in issue 70, Kate Bachus made effective use of the episodic narrative in “Twenty Views of Tanforan.” Now we’ve seen Ian Donnell Arbuckle use a similar technique in Made It Way Up.

The second Challenge is also easy: What is the most important difference in structure between “Twenty Views of Tanforan” and Made It Way Up?

The third Challenge is a little more complex, but not much: What is the difference in point of view between “Twenty Views of Tanforan” and Made It Way Up?

And now, a concluding unofficial Challenge. The title of Challenge 96 is ambiguous, because it concerns both Bewildering Stories and today’s newspaper headlines. What did you think when you first saw “From Tanforan to the present”? And if you didn’t know what Tanforan was, what do you think now that you’ve read Kate Bachus’ story?

Copyright © 2004 by Don Webb for Bewildering Stories

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