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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 459

Fulfillment First, Prophecy Later

  1. In Sandra Crook’s “Counting the Minutes,” in the blockquoted section: is Uncle Joe’s niece thinking of someone else or is she imagining Uncle Joe thinking about her? Does it matter?

  2. In Martin Hill Ortiz’ “An Incurable Insomnia”:

    1. What does the character named “God” think, feel and do in the poem?
    2. If “God” is interpreted as being a deity, what kind is it? What is it like?
    3. In a tragedy such as the poem alludes to, the question sometimes arises: “Where was God?” What is the logical answer? Put another way: What if the poem is not about God at all? Who is it about, then?
  3. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “Summer, 1952”:

    1. What actually happens in this memoir? Is any part of the action unbelievable?
    2. Is any part of the historical setting implausible even if the actions of that day cannot be confirmed by disinterested eyewitnesses?
    3. How old is the author in the year 2011? Does the account gain or lose by the memoirist’s taking a biographical and historical perspective?
  4. In Derek Frazier’s “Vapor Rising”:

    1. How does “Vapor Rising” differ in terms of cause and effect from Luke’s account of the Annunciation?
    2. Does Vapor Rising have a reason to do and say to Miryam what he does?
    3. Vapor Rising may be immortal, but is he omniscient? Is he omnipotent? What elements of parody and satire appear in the story?
    4. What does the title represent? Is it an anagram, or is it some other arcane reference?
  5. In Artie Knapp’s “Light on a Snowy Day”:

    1. The author has published widely in children’s literature on different topics. At the end, Maggie says “Light on a Snowy Day” is a Christmas-present story. Is it one essentially or incidentally?
    2. Does Mr. Dotson give Maggie a chance to say goodbye to the deer before he releases it?
    3. What lesson does the story hold for Maggie and a children’s audience generally besides the place of wild animals and people?
  6. In Phillip Donnelly’s Kev the Vampire:

    1. Does the story reach a conclusion or does it simply stop?
    2. In what way might Kev the Vampire resemble Adalbert von Chamisso’s Peter Schlemiehl?
  7. In Danielle L. Parker’s “Tower of Sighs”:

    1. Why does Kzirth need to recruit Blunt to infiltrate the Tower of Sighs?
    2. Does Blunt fulfill his mission to liberate Vilth from the prison?

    3. Blunt refers to a “first mortgage.” It is the bomb that was implanted in him at the end of a previous story, “Death King.” Blunt has decided against disabling it — thereby risking harm to innocent bystanders — for reasons that are clear to himself alone. How might “Tower of Sighs” have a less esoteric ending?

  8. Bonus question: What works in this issue account for the title of this Challenge? And how do they do so?

Responses welcome!

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