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In Connor Caddigan’s “In the Secret Parts of Fortune”:
- What literary allusions can you find in the story? Can you find a pattern in them?
- What are the elements of comedy? How much depends on the grotesque?
In Chris Yodice’s “Brindal and the Long Day”:
- What natural events mark the passage of time? How are they described in imagery?
- How are relationships affected by the differences in subjective time?
In Edward Vitolo’s “The After-Moon”:
- How does the ending of the story compare to that of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: a Space Odyssey — in the film or print version?
- What do Earthlings learn from their new moon? What happens to the sentient beings of a planet after they have been educated, so to speak, by their new satellite?
- What happens to the old moon?
Cleveland W. Gibson’s “The Trophy Room” is a fantasy featuring magical potions and unnatural or mythical beasts. How might the story be told in a realistic mode? How would it differ in content?
In Elliot R. Dorfman’s “The One Loved the Most”:
Lucy comes and goes mysteriously at unaccountably appointed hours. Are those details necessary? Is Walter’s own apparent change of heart foreshadowed in some way?
Deals with the Devil are notoriously tricky business:
- What if Walter and Lucy conspired to renege on the bargain and claim they weren’t really in love? Couldn’t they proceed to vampirize people they simply didn’t dislike very much? Mightn’t that tactic warrant at least an extension of the contract?
- Or, if they had legal experience, couldn’t they tie up the Devil for eternity by arguing over the meaning of “love” and “the most”?
- To what court could they appeal?
In view of the vampiric ritual, might Walter be prudent to refrain from filling in Lucy’s grave too hastily? His kiss seems to be more immediately effective than Lucy’s, but shouldn’t he worry about contagion? Mightn’t he have caught a fatal, soul-sucking illness from her?
A Spanish proverb says that the Devil is dangerous not because he is so smart but because he is so old. But with age comes forgetfulness as well as experience. What does the Devil get out of the deal with Walter or Lucy? Didn’t he forget to add an irony-prevention clause: “Thou shalt not soul-suck another vampire”?
Copyright © 2010 by Bewildering Stories
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