Bewildering Stories

euhal allen discusses...

Challenge 108

Continuing the “Bridge” discussion, euhal allen covers all the bases, and he and I agree that the conversation might be of general interest.

The second version — euhal’s — is pessimistic. The dissidents are transported to another planet, leaving the remainder on Earth to pursue their evil ways. Doesn’t this interstellar “Rapture” state bluntly that the vast majority of Earthlings prefer tribalism of the lowest common denominator even when its misuse is obviously a curse? And that there’s no place on earth for the elect few who transcend it? (from issue 113)

I think not. I have been studying man for a long time and I find that those who are leaders will often do whatever to keep power. That was what was reflected in this ending. But, there was something else that was there.

“Interstellar rapture” is not in the cards, no matter how it may look. Remember, “Chaos comes from twisting the obvious.” What may look like one thing could be covering over something very different.

One learns that from trying to really figure out just who was in power in Feudal Japan. The trails lead everywhere, and nowhere. One not only knows not where he is going, but, often, not even where he is.


Just to tag up and play it safe, lest there be any confusion, I’ll remind our readers of the topic: “the second version — euhal’s — is pessimistic.” That says that the version is pessimistic, not that the author is necessarily. Personal opinions are a separate topic, of course.

Now, what does “pessimistic” mean? That a resolution or reconciliation is highly unlikely or impossible. Your interpretation of the ending corresponds exactly to my own: “‘Interstellar rapture’ is not in the cards, no matter how it may look.” A deus ex machina ending can prevent a story from ending in dismal tragedy, but at the same time it underscores the implausibility of a “happy ending.”

Of course, other readers may take your alternate conclusion rather differently; I’d like to know. I was trying to model an interpretation with the understanding that others are also possible.

The observation about the power structure of feudal Japan bears out a basic maxim of politics: “Find out where the power is.” As you say, it’s not always obvious. — DW

Between them, Katherine, euhal and Karlos could hardly have explored a range of viewpoints more thoroughly if they’d planned it. And who can say, maybe they did.

My children have been taught to have minds of their own. They are most capable of disagreeing with their father without him directing any of it.

It would negate my purpose as a teacher and father, to seek to influence their minds in such a way.

Besides, it is much more fun to see what they, as independent, thoughtful beings, come up with.

Of course, I have “allowed” them the priviledge of reading a large amount of History so that they could, at least, look around and see how men act and react to each other. Their conclusions, though, are their own.


I’m not at all surprised at what you say, but I am surprised by the context. Notice that the original comment concentrates entirely on the range of opinions. The kind of control you describe never entered my mind. In fact, that’s why I said “Maybe they did” (emphasis added), which implies a cooperative effort. Your respect for your children — and, by extension, for your students in your role as a teacher — is what I expect from myself and my own colleagues.

Apparently we’ve both encountered people of an authoritarian bent. I think they only create problems for everybody, and I don’t see how they accomplish anything. That’s why the page “What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge” emphasizes that the Challenges are opportunities, not assignments!

Thanks for the feedback, euhal. I think it gives our readers a bigger picture than they might otherwise have had.


Copyright © 2004 by euhal allen and Bewildering Stories

Return to top

Home Page