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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 271

One for Some, One for All

  1. In Oxygen and Aromasia, Claës Lundin turns out to have a rather flinty-eyed view of the romantic triangle that has animated the action thus far. The love story effectively comes to an end in “Away from Earth!” and “The Sapphire Cave.” Any attempt to rescue it will be an exercise in sentimentality.

    1. In what way does Apollonides’ fate befit his character?
    2. Why does Oxygen not meet a classic tragic end like Apollonides?
    3. In what way are Apollonides’ and Oxygen’s tragic flaws similar?
    4. In view of the status of women generally in 19th-century European society, why might Claës Lundin have chosen this particular outcome for the love story?
  2. Neil Crabtree’s “Land of Opportunity” and Peter Charles’ “The Niche” are quite dissimilar in that “Land of Opportunity” explains in detail the social conditions that motivate the protagonist’s decision, while “The Niche” leaves them up to the readers’ imagination. What might cause Pellser to do what he does?

  3. List the objects of satire in Bertil Falk’s “The Ball is Dead!

  4. Walt Giersbach’s “Cable Window” has a double plot: Carla’s facing her new life as a young widow and her receiving cross-time news of disasters to come in the next nine years. Consider the story as the beginning of a novella or novel in which Carla deals with her knowledge of the future: how might it unfold?

  5. At the end of Roberto Sanhueza’s “The Gift,” the reader has to feel sympathy for Rosenda, who has been unjustly accused. Why might we expect that she’ll be freed even though the story ends before that happens?

    Rosenda can be seen as a tragic heroine in that she faces down an evil that she has inadvertently unleashed. To what extent is Rolo also a hero despite his role as the narrative observer?

  6. In Mel Waldman’s “The Lost Golem,” why is David Goldstein revealed to be, himself, a “golem”? What are the moral implications of being a “golem”? Is the action a golem is called upon to take particularistic? Or can it be seen as representative of human societies generally? If not, why not?

    The name of the deity is abbreviated as “G-d,” a convention borrowed from Hebrew, where the Tetragrammaton “YHWH” is not spoken, as a sign of reverence. In fact, no one knows for certain how the word was originally pronounced: the earliest texts lack vowels.

    Therefore, both “G-d” and “YHWH” are features of the written language exclusively. What would David Goldstein and Rabbi Levy say if the play were actually performed on stage?

  7. Santa Claus comes out of the blue in Michael A. Kechula’s “Primitive Instincts,” and the present he brings to Harry is comically bizarre. What do Santa Claus and the “present” imply in terms of Harry’s role as the last resistance fighter on Earth?

Responses welcome!

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