Bewildering Stories

Challenge 125

Sharp Objects and Obsolescence

  1. How would you continue and conclude Amy Ochterski’s “Rocket’s Discovery”? Would you give it another title?

  2. Byron Bailey’s “Bylaw” and Charles Richard Laing’s “Stabbed in the Back” have one thing in common: sharp objects. And yet the stories are poles apart: one is satire and the other is ironic; one looks at “sharp objects” from the point of view of society; the other, from that of the individual. What rhetorical difference is there between the horn and the knives?
  3. Kevin Ahearn poses a provocative challenge of his own, and it’s best to read it first in its entirety. A link at the end will bring you back here.

    “In the future, new means of communications will make the written word obsolete.” In response, Kevin predicts that technology and marketing will be dominant: “Now sf books are no longer written but ‘packaged’ to be sold not as literary works but as springboards for toys, comic books, movies and video games.” Our Challenge is:

    1. Does science fiction differ in nature from what Kevin calls the “traditional” genres: mystery, drama and romance? If so, how? One sometimes hears: “because science fiction is future-oriented.” Do you agree?

    2. Why has high-tech marketing not affected the “traditional genres” as it has science fiction? Or would you say it has affected them in some ways? Or is science fiction a special case?

    3. Should science fiction writers concentrate on developing films, toys, comic books and clothing first and then derive the literature afterwards, as a kind of spin-off? If not, don’t certain films imply that we’re seeing it happen anyway?

    4. Toys, clothing and other accessories wear out or become obsolete; literature does not, or need not. Is the written word nonetheless obsolescent? Is Kevin’s solution the wave of the future? Or is it a form of cultural suicide?

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