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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 501

Dupe the Dupe?

  1. In Richard Ong’s “Voice of a Princess”:

    1. What scene-setting is needed in order to understand what the narrator, Bryan, does at the beginning of the story?
    2. Why does Bryan tell Elizabeth the story of the princess in the tower? Does he have a reason to do so, or is he just guessing?
    3. An “explosion” might have disfigured Elizabeth as well as blinding her. Does that matter or not?
    4. Does the story overstep Bewildering Stories’ guideline about sentimentality, i.e. unearned emotion?
  2. In Raud Kennedy’s “Silver Elvis”:

    1. Jonathan sees a “silver Elvis” in a dream. Do dream sequences qualify as fantasy or as reality? What might the “silver Elvis” and the small monkey signify?
    2. Do Jonathan’s and Heather’s dreams have anything in common?
    3. What would it take for Jonathan and Heather to get together?
  3. In Ian Cordingley’s “Executives of Neon Death”:

    1. What might explain the title?
    2. Do the interstellar colonists have a point? In what way might they be mistaken?
    3. The voice from the future foretells a civil war lasting four centuries. What are its causes? How might it be forestalled?
    4. Who is the author of the epigraph? Does it matter? How does the epigraph apply to the story?
  4. In Jack Alcott’s “The Dupes”:

    1. The title is ambiguous. Why might the duplicates be “dupes” in the colloquial sense of the term?
    2. What other premise might the story use than duplicating people, dogs, houses, cars, etc. to set up the scene of chaos in the newspaper office?
    3. The real center of the story is the demise of print publishing. Before the advent of the Macintosh computer, in 1985, such stories might have qualified as science fiction; now they’re realism. What other stories — either science fictional or realistic — can you cite, regardless of source, about this phase of cultural evolution?

Responses welcome!

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