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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 305

They Went Whichaway?

  1. J. R. Hume’s “I, Romeo”:
    1. Is the story a comedy or a tragedy or both?
    2. What prepares the reader for “Romeo’s” self-destruction?
    3. Does the story rely on a stereotype of male-female relationships?
    4. Is the epilogue necessary?
  2. How does episode 2 in Slawomir Rapala’s “A New Beginning” differ from all the other episodes in The Three Kings so far? In what way is the conversation between Aezubah and Iskald anachronistic and out of character?

    In The Three Kings, much is made of the compass directions north and south, but little is said about east and west. Does it come as a surprise that Lyons lies to the west of the Azmattic Ocean rather than to the east? How else might the reader benefit from seeing Aezubah’s maps?

  3. Judging by Bertil Falk’s quotation from Thomas Thorild in “A Criticism of Critics,” would it be fair to say that Skara is the home of faultless beauty?

    In the early 19th century, Thorild was a liberal promoting women’s rights and chastising aristocratic exclusiveness. Why might he pass for an ultra-conservative today?

  4. What might be the moral to Katherine L. Michaels’ “Siya”: don’t be a wayward child? Don’t be a big bug? Something else? Or are the story and the ending of such different orders that neither matches the other?

  5. In Laura G. Weldon’s “What It’s Like,” does the author’s editorial intervention in the last line of the poem mean that being published for the first time is like a blind man getting a bad haircut?

  6. In John Grey’s “Night Job,” is it customary to embalm vampires? To station a caretaker in a morgue?

  7. In Ken Dean’s “Gifted”:
    1. The ethnicity of the two main characters may explain one event in the story; what is it?
    2. Artie and Hirosho can only “sense” that the other is “gifted.” They meet apparently by accident — an occurrence so unlikely as to be nearly impossible. Should the cause of their meeting be given a rational explanation, or is it good enough to leave their meeting to chance?
    3. Why might Hirosho seem reckless? What reason does he have to be on guard against Artie?
    4. Artie is linked to organized crime, and Hirosho is a serial killer. Is the story a cautionary tale about corruption wrought by wealth and power? If so, where is the caution? How might a “Midas touch” story be written with a main character that is not despicable?

  8. In Daniel R. Cross’s “Visions of Truth”:
    1. What does the title have to do with the story?
    2. The story takes place in a cemetery; does that necessarily mean that Ryan is a ghost?
    3. How might a blind person feel about this story?
  9. General challenge: Write a different ending to any of the poetry or short fiction in this issue.

Responses welcome!

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