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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 321

“Blow, Ye Winds in the Morning...”

  1. John R. Albers’ “Master of the Winds” takes the form of a myth, complete with symbolic elements. Folklore, too, is almost always moralistic, but its stories are usually dry and sketchy. What dramatic techniques does the author use to bring the winds’ debate to life and sustain the readers’ interest through to the end of the scene?

    Which is most effective: the cultural or the historical allegory?

    The story cries out for artistic illustration. Want to give it a try?

  2. In “A Poem for a Recession,” is John Stocks talking only about an economic recession? No. What other kind, then?

    1. How does the opening of the poem subtly misdirect the reader into thinking that the narrator is a person bemoaning his poverty and thereby make the ending all the more powerful?
    2. In what way might John Stocks’ poem be read as a latter-day inverse and corollary of Rudyard Kipling’s “Recessional”?
  3. S. H. Linden’s “A Smart Kid” is a satirical philosophical tale.

    1. Why is it signficant that the character realizes belatedly, at the end, what his own motivation is?
    2. Is the story a mirror image of John Stocks’ “A Poem for a Recession”?
    3. Does the story complement Mark Koerner’s “A Fresh Start”?
    4. What antagonist might defeat the “Smart Kid” at the end? Or, instead of committing suicide, might the Kid end his days swindling local merchants out of groceries?
  4. Lewayne L. White’s “Family Farm”:

    1. Does the story contradict or complement Dwight Krauss’s “The Absence of Land,” in issue 320?
    2. What does each story bring to the theme of dispossession and alienation?
    3. How does “Family Farm” illustrate the principle “Tell the readers what they need to know, but do not do the reading for them”?
  5. In view of Mark Koerner’s qualifications, to what extent should “A Fresh Start” be read as satire of American culture and politics, and to what extent should it be taken as a serious work of future history?

  6. In Rachel V. Olivier’s “Scary Things”:

    1. How are elements of fantasy, fable, and crime fiction combined in this story?
    2. In what ways does “Señor Rata” become more than an observer?
    3. What makes Señor Rata an endearing character? Why is it significant that he’s literally a rat?
    4. What significance do daytime and night have for this story?
  7. In what way does Bill Bowler’s Lenore, in “A Poem for Edgar Allan Poe,” differ from Poe’s?

  8. Michael D. Brooks’ “Dear Dad”:

    1. What other endings can you imagine?
    2. What does the imprecision of Joey’s last message achieve that a more graphic description would not?
    3. Some readers would prefer that the story end with an official communiqué announcing that Joey has been killed in action. Do you agree? Or would such an ending be a cliché?
  9. H. Bradley Stucki’s “Adoption” is a Biblical allegory. Would you say it’s satirical, pessimistic, or cynical?

  10. In Tala Bar’s “Meetings,” the characters might be said to be camping out on Lunari, but they do so almost in comfort. The planet is described as an airless world balanced between three suns, which seem to be somewhat like Sol. Since Lunari is heated constantly on all sides, what is its surface temperature likely to be? How long would the planet accumulate heat before it exploded?

Responses welcome!

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