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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 356

Down in Back

  1. In Bertrand Cayzac’s “Figs and Riesling,” part 12, Fred Looseman makes his first career appearance as Floozman. In what way does the intervention of the little girl show the limits of the financial superhero’s powers?

    Bonus question: How does the “story arc” in this episode — Fred Looseman’s metamorphosis into Floozman and back again — parallel that in subsequent episodes? Put another way: Floozman’s intervention makes money worthless; what, then, does have worth? What characters like the little girl intervene in later episodes, and what do they affirm?

  2. In Rebecca Lu Kiernan’s “Patriot”:

    1. The poem implies a “backstory.” What do you think happened? How does the narrator feel about it?
    2. Explicate the symbols in the poem.
  3. E. S. Strout’s “Epiphany” is an irony on unintended consequences:

    1. Does the date of the action seem plausible?
    2. What might Beth say to Mozart that would cause him to renounce music for all practical purposes? Even under the circumstances in the story, is it plausible he would have done so?
    3. If you had Beth’s opportunity, what would you say to Mozart?
    4. Bonus question: How does Cyrano react to the supposed visitation by supernatural beings in The Other World, episode 1 and the beginning of episode 2?
  4. In Dwight O. Krauss’s “Last Contact,” what is the moral implied in Hiram’s references to “Russians”?

  5. In Thomas L. J. Smith’s “The Backwards Detective”:

    1. The story falls into the subgenre of the “joke made up backwards.” How can you tell? Is the “punch line” really accurate?
    2. Why couldn’t the visual assistive device have been put on the front of the detective’s coat rather than the back?
  6. In Gabriel Timar’s The Hades Connection, chapter 20, in what ways does George Pike express the attitude of a cynical aristocrat?

Responses welcome!

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