Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 432

Reminiscing on the Run

page index
Give Them Wine
My Travels Through Texas
The Lost City of Z
Pan Am 617 Heavy
Something Above Us
Song of the Nightingale
  1. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “Song of the Nightingale”:

    1. The story ends with Martha Hennings’ hoping that Philbus Martin might return some day. What fact in the story may lead the reader to surmise that his chances of returning are very slight?
    2. In a conventional conclusion, Philbus would return or Martha would receive news of his death in battle. Instead, the story has an “open ending.” What is the story really about?
  2. In Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s My Travels Through Texas:

    1. Remembering the Alamo”:

      1. What is the symbolic significance of the puppet?
      2. What is the cultural satire in the philosophical reflection “if we woke up tomorrow and everything was half the size it is now, how could we know?”
      3. How does Thomas de Smith de Santa Louis’ audience feel about carrying concealed weapons?
      4. In what way is “mule” a double entendre?
    2. In “A Meeting with Rosa Parks,” what is the satire implied by the encounter with the mannequin?

    3. In “Leaving San Antonio,” would it make a difference to the security agents if the knives were in checked baggage rather than carry-on luggage?

  3. In Mary B. McArdle’s Give Them Wine, chapter 6 thematically traces a passage from death to life:

    1. What does killing the pony signify?
    2. Donas is attracted to the young horseman. Have they been properly introduced?
  4. In Sean Monaghan’s Pan Am 617 Heavy:

    1. As Dominic and Keyshaa invade Miterall’s bunker, Keyshaa explains to Dominic why she is familiar enough with the bunker’s layout to maneuver through it in the dark. Isn’t it a little late for her to be imparting such vital information to her comrade in arms? What does the incident imply about the relationship of Keyshaa and Dominic?

    2. From a side comment of Keyshaa’s, what can we surmise about WW2 in this alternate universe?

  5. In Ásgrímur Hartmannsson’s Error, chapter 20, Rick brutally murders a policewoman. She is not the only casualty in the fray, but she is by far the worst.

    1. What is the immediate pretext for Rick’s assault? How does Jonas react to it?
    2. What is Jonas’ view of women in positions of authority? Do chapter 7 and chapter 8 necessarily foreshadow the violence in chapter 20?

    3. Does the raid on the Bureau of Personal Information Protection seal Jonas’ fate once and for all? Will Jonas murder his mother, die violently, be imprisoned, or confined to a mental hospital?

  6. In Albert J. Manachino’s “Something Above Us”:

    1. Do Wanda and James intend to burn the house down?
    2. The monster apparently can’t descend below the fourth floor, although it can scatter counterfeit money downstairs. What prevents a new monster from taking up residence on the upper storey of a new house even if it is on the third floor? Do James and Wanda inadvertently imply there might be a more practical solution for preventing UFO landings than limiting the height of the building?

  7. Bonus question: In Danielle L. Parker’s review of David Grann’s The Lost City of Z, one finds that Eldorado has been coveted by the bloodthirsty, such as the conquistadors, and by inhumane monomaniacs, such as Percy Fawcett. In Voltaire’s Candide, chapter 18, Candide and his friends actually discover Eldorado.

    1. What are gold and silver worth in that kingdom?
    2. What is Eldorado’s true value?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2011 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page