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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 444

I’m a Little Teased Pot

  1. In Maxwell Jameson’s “The Man With a City in His Head,” :

    1. A debate occurs between Frederick the Writer and Marcus the Statesman. Aside from their contradictory perceptions of John the Leader, what do they seem to be arguing about? What is the substance of their dispute, and what are their points of contention?
    2. What does the term “to Share” mean, anyway?

  2. Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s “The Ballad of Josh Henry” is obviously a comic satire. In what way is it realistic? Aside from Josh Henry’s machinations, in what ways is it unrealistic?

  3. To what extent is Sandra Crook’s “Cyber Power” realistic? How might the same story be written about Tom’s mother if she were in the same circumstances as his father?

  4. Julie Eberhart Painter’s “Open Containers” is a kind of Keystone Kops farce. But might it be realistic at an international airport? Why does the lady lie about her ultimate destination?

  5. In Mary B. McArdle’s Give Them Wine:

    1. If Tolk’s “story” is any indication, the South People must be starved for entertainment. He doesn’t even tell them anything they haven’t already heard from someone, somehow. What purpose, then, does his oration serve?

    2. Donas, Mak and Rani seem to have escaped from a fascist drug state in Katera’s compound. Do they seem to have migrated to a communist “workers’ paradise”?

    3. What elements of potential discord emerge in this chapter?

  6. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “The Blue-Willow Teapot”:

    1. Aunt Marybelle leaves her nephew Andrew a bequest that challenges him to kick his drug addiction and become a best-selling writer. Is the challenge fair or does Aunt Marybelle inadvertently set Andrew up to fail?

    2. What happens to Aunt Marybelle’s estate? Is the teapot supposedly magic in some way, or is it a symbol of broken dreams and misguided hope?

  7. In Laura G. Weldon’s “Shunned by Polite Society”:

    1. Is the narrator actually shunned?
    2. Why does the narrator feel afflicted by unearned humiliation? How else might she have responded to the woman who made the so-called polenta?
    3. What other observations might the narrator have made about the people at the gathering?
    4. What cultural bias does the narrator bring to the party?

Responses welcome!

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