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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 361

What Time Would It Have Been?

Page index: anchor links
The Sentinel v. 1.0
The Hades Connection
The Man at Table Five
The Seminar
Picture Perfect
Prisoners of the Future
While Researching a Horror Story
  1. In Kevin Grover’s “The Sentinel v. 1.0,” does Peter intend to change the past? What indicates that he does not?

  2. In Gabriel S. Timar’s The Hades Connection, chapter 25, what two strong women put in virtual appearances in this chapter? In what ways are the references humorous?

  3. In Pedro Blas González’ “The Man at Table Five,” would the story be materially changed if the family reunion were held in the haunted restaurant rather than in the haunted house?

  4. In Gary W. Crawford’s “The Seminar”:

    1. What happens in the story?

    2. How can the story be read: as a denunciation or depiction of intellectual conformity? Can it be read in some other way?

  5. In Anitha Murthy’s “Picture Perfect”:

    1. Why is Mr. Bradshaw depicted as having a “malevolent sneer”? How do the job applicants prior to Ms. Fisher seem to feel about the matter?

    2. Might the story imply a kind of revenge fantasy about far-fetched art interpretation?

  6. In Neil Crabtree’s “While Researching a Horror Story...”:

    1. The story emphasizes the traditional atmosphere of a haunted house, which affects Louis Pensa mightily. But Pensa is a professional writer of horror fiction. How would the story change if the point of view character were, for example, not a writer but a lone hiker lost in the woods and seeking refuge for the night?

    2. The boundary between physical horror and comedy is a gray area. Louis Pensa’s injuries are serious and the stuff of tragedy. The wheeled mannikin risks inadvertent comedy: how is a comic scene avoided?

    3. The writer Louis Pensa suffers the fatal irony of experiencing one of his prospective stories in real life. The premise may be productive: how might an ironic story depict a writer of science fiction or fantasy or some other genre? Choose tragedy or comedy, as you wish.

  7. In Art Carey’s “Prisoners of the Future”:

    1. Where did the real Himmler stand in the official line of succession to Hitler? Does it matter?

    2. The real Operation Barbarossa caught the Soviets by surprise. Is the fictitious Himmler overcautious in canceling the invasion of the Soviet Union? Is he wise to leave an alerted and potentially powerful enemy on his eastern flank?

    3. Time-travel stories can be fun, but they are inherently paradoxical. If the future scientists know about Hitler, mustn’t they also know about Himmler?

    4. “Prisoners of the Future” can be seen as a frame story with only an opening frame. That’s unorthodox but not unheard-of. In a closing frame, what might we learn about the scientist himself? What might he think of the consequences of his experiment?

    5. What does the story imply about the “great man” theory of history?

Responses welcome!

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