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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 439

The Mandrill’s Hand

  1. In Bertil Falk’s “A Touch of Something Else”:

    1. Why does Salmon Badfish ask Billie Occasion to establish a telepathic link with Edward? Is his purpose entirely clear?

    2. What does Billie Occasion learn about the octopus?

    3. The octopus has a camera-style eye, like vertebrates, but its eye has rhabdomeric photo-receptors, like insects. What might its presumably superior vision imply in terms of the story?

    4. The story ends enigmatically: “And then it was all over...” Why might one doubt that Edward would eat Salmon even if it were hungry?

  2. In Michael S. Collins’ “The Watcher”:

    1. The legend — or myth or “old wives’ tale” — of the Watcher is referred to at least twice, but the reader must infer what it is. What purpose would such a legend serve? If it is a cautionary tale, what precaution could anyone take other than to disbelieve it?

    2. At the end, in what way does the old man reveal that he knows more than Simon expected him to?

  3. In Hongping Liu’s The King of the Forest:

    1. Is the story’s audience limited to any particular age group? If so, which? If not, why not?

    2. The names "Kaka” and “Dudu” are comical in English. What connotations do they have in Chinese?

    3. The story is a kind of hybrid of classic fable and ancient myth. How does it differ from classic fables? How does it differ from modern fables, especially those in film?

    4. What moral lessons are implied regarding, for example, superstition, politics, loyalty, kindness and justice?

Responses welcome!

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