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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 171

Halloween in the Classic Style

  1. Here at Bewildering Stories it’s not always all Halloween, but it is Halloween all the time. In Challenge 170 we pointed out how the theme of violence was common to all but one of the stories. In this issue, the theme of mental states seems to predominate. Match the titles with the themes. Reminder: if you miss any, you have to go trick or treating through the graveyard all by yourself on a dark and stormy night!

    1. The Diner and That Same Old Feeling Again
    2. Katts and Dawgs, Epilogue parts 1-2
    3. The King’s Daughter, chapters 4-5
    4. The Most Exasperating Woman on the Planet
    5. The Rosamund Trap
    6. Using My Head
    1. delusion
    2. bereavement
    3. an identity crisis
    4. in touch with one’s inner self
    5. love-hate relationships
    6. madness

    Give up? Put on your costume, get out your booty bag and put on your running shoes!

  • Obviously, a certain mental or emotional state is necessary to what transpires in the Epilogue to Katts and Dawgs, but it is not central. Rather, Roberto Sanhueza has picked up on a suggestion in the Critics’ Corner of issue 163, which bade what we hoped then would be a premature farewell to Adam, Kitti, Phydo, Thomm and even Jeri.

    The suggestion was, as you remember or now know, that Roberto answer the question about Man’s fate:

    What ever happened to Man after he left Earth to the Sentient Creatures? If the story we have is any indication, that continuation will end in peace and hope. Perhaps Man will return and learn a thing or two... from the Katts, Dawgs and Mysse.

    Roberto has taken a page from Pierre Boulle’s Planet of the Apes and, I think, gone him one better. Roberto in all modesty has his doubts, wishing that his command of English allowed him to add more description and emotional involvement. Do you think that is a valid self-criticism?

    I’ll answer that: No! I stand by what I said in issue 163: Katts and Dawgs is a modern fable. Just look at the Fables of La Fontaine — and who can imagine a better model, let alone find one? — they, too, have little description and lots of action.

    Emotions are communicated in what the characters do and say, even if they only imagine the actions and words. The same is true of externals: any story will take place in a historical context, but history can serve only as a backdrop: the characters must hold center stage and give history meaning. What better way to draw the readers into the story as virtual participants?

    Description, then, we can mostly imagine for ourselves; the emotion we see in action. By writing in English as a second language, Roberto has created a work in the classic style, devoid of distractions. Don’t change it!

    In the spirit of the Challenge, here are three questions; the first is simple, the second is broader in scope, and the last is well-nigh impossible:

    1. Where is Kannis located?
    2. The cause of Man’s Departure is outlined in a few deft touches that allude to a “larger story.” What is that story? What is Man’s fate?
    3. The novel will conclude in issue 172. What do you think the outcome will be?

  • Responses welcome!

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