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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 487

The Road Behind

  1. In Mike Florian’s “Springtime, North Dakota”:

    1. Why might the toughs think that the bartender is not telling the truth about the police?
    2. We learn Marty’s name only when he meets Aaron and Angela. What might be the advantage in avoiding his name for so long?
    3. Why might it be significant that Marty is a Canadian?
    4. Why might Marty have found it easier to travel through the U.S. in going from Montreal to Calgary? Hint: remember the time as well as the geography.
    5. What is the irony in Marty’s two modes of transportation, the ones at the beginning and end of the story?
  2. In E. L. Skip Knox’s “The Roadmaster”:

    1. The story is set in an alternate universe. Why not in ours? And what makes the peculiar features of the “Roadmaster” universe recognizable?
    2. Driver’s conversation with John is sometimes oblique but not obtuse. How does Driver’s manner of speaking make him seem trustworthy, even charming in a way?
    3. What, exactly, is pursuing John and Driver?
    4. What realization must John come to in order to defeat the menace?
    5. If the story is an allegory, what does it represent?
  3. In Kristin LaFollette’s “November Baptism”:

    1. In the title, why might “November” be used rather than some other month?
    2. A baptism is a purification ritual, a kind of cleansing. Who and what are cleansed in the poem?
    3. The poem proceeds from reverie to dream. What transformation takes place?
  4. In Jack Bragen’s “Culpable Obedience”:

    1. What is the most likely cause of the “Prince’s” overthrow?
    2. What is a “hypothetical crime”? Gladys Seymour alludes to it as a historical practice in the U.S. What might she be referring to?
    3. Why is the narrator, Byron, going to receive a decoration?

Responses welcome!

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