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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 502


  1. In Mike Florian’s interview, what practical lessons can writers learn from the author’s experience? What is the very first one mentioned?

  2. In Charles C. Cole’s “A Lesser Immortal” the narrator refers to himself as the river god Meander. Aside from random reincarnation, what myth might the story be alluding to?

  3. In Maria Petrova’s “I Have Been Lady Godiva”:

    1. The narrator may seem quite strange if her actions are taken literally. How might the story be interpreted if she is seen as portraying an individual? Women in general?
    2. The narrator becomes something of a fashion artist. What principle of artistic creation does the story illustrate? That is, what does an author — or any artist — need?
    3. What accounts for the story’s unhappy ending?
  4. In Anastasia Towe’s “Dead North”:

    1. What is the origin of the “moaners”? Why are a few human beings left alive?
    2. Zombies are of the same order as space-alien invaders, i.e. they’re not human and not naturally found on Earth. Where do they fit in the taxonomy proposed in “Space Aliens as Metaphor”?
    3. Would Rob’s grief be more understandable if his and Mel’s daughter were not a zombie? What might be an alternative?
  5. In Jake Walters’ “Sky City”:

    1. What indicates that the “sky city” is not in space but, rather, high off the ground?
    2. The narrator has two names: first “Cadillac” and then “Jim.” What does the name change signify?
    3. Why does Cadillac climb down to the ground?
    4. After Cadillac becomes Jim, he decides to live with the people on the ground. Does he have a plausible reason to abandon his family? What would happen to the story if Cadillac’s family were omitted?
    5. Might the story be an allegory of work in the Peace Corps?

Responses welcome!

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