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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 392

Wandering Into the Line of Fire

page index
Collecting Stones from a Beach
The Cross Murders
Fahima’s Tears
Flying Angels
Less Than the Sum of the Movable Parts
comprehensive question
  1. Dan McNeil’s “Collecting Stones from a Beach” is an example of a rare subgenre: a review of a non-existent book. What does the review satirize other than the genre of the book review itself?

  2. In Bertil Falk’s “The Cross Murders”:

    1. At what point can the reader reasonably surmise who the murderer is?
    2. How does the author use misdirection by omission to prevent the reader from guessing what the murder weapon is?
  3. In Slawomir Rapala’s “Fahima’s Tears”:

    1. The story is a lyrical allegory. What do the allegorical figures represent?

      The story alludes to pivotal moments in the history of Palestine and latter-day Israel. Is the story an encrypted editorial about current events sub specie aeternitatis? What is Bewildering Stories’ motto about stories based on current events?

    2. But the Dark Lord, in his scheming mind, knew the symbols to be just as real as anything else, if not more so. To tear down a symbol often meant to cripple a nation and to win a war.

      The reality of symbols is not in question; symbols outlast wars and even nations. Indeed, does the Dark Lord not make a fatal mistake by confusing cause and effect? When has tearing down a symbol ever crippled a nation or won a war?

  4. In Richard Thieme’s “Less Than the Sum of the Movable Parts”:

    1. [In part 2]

      Where’s the narrative? That’s what we need: a narrative, not abstractions. [...] I know; I am getting to the point. You want a simple story. I understand that. But this is a story, however chock-full of ideas. Ideas can be as alive as people, more alive than some.

      What the narrator says may or may not be true of real life, but is it at all true of fiction?

    2. In the moment, I thought I confessed to be real, but as she drew back, her eyes receding into the distance, I realized that she saw more clearly than I ever would I had simply as always needed to prevail.

      Translation needed.

  5. In K. S. Riggin’s “Flying Angels”:

    1. What makes Jackie an interesting character?
    2. What flaws does Jackie have? In what way is she unlikable as a person?
    3. Is “Flying Angels” a story or a vignette?
  6. Compare the causes, effects, and moral implications of violence in:

Responses welcome!

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