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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 507

Same Time, Some Place

  1. In Rebecca Lu Kiernan’s “The Case Against Chaos”:

    1. Who is Tom Ford?
    2. What does the poem suggest is the alternative to “chaos”?
  2. In Gary Inbinder’s “Nemo and Kafka Balance the Books”: At the risk of creating a continuation to the bureaucratic epic, might Nemo and Kafka not find a way to “uncook” the books and spare little Timmy an Untimely demise?

  3. In Afzal Moolla’s “The Taliban Within”:

    1. What is the difference in the subjects and the prayers between parts 1 and 2?
    2. The poem explicitly names the Taliban, but what is it really about? If the poem is read as a denunciation, how is it ironic?
    3. The poem might be written from the point of view of a certain religion, especially in the implicit allusions to such phrases as “You have heard of old time, but I tell you...” Is the poem necessarily written from the point of view of any particular religion?
  4. In Ron Van Sweringen’s “Rescue on Ragtop Mountain”:

    1. Aside from the festive occasion of Maw-Maw’s dinner, could the events in the story have taken place at another time of year, such as January or February, with no gain or loss of meaning?
    2. How does the story reflect cultural assumptions common in early 20th-century America?
    3. What is the function of the tone of the story? How does it relate to actual conditions in the years between, say, 1890 and 1940?
    4. How might the scenario play out in a story written from the perspective of today’s culture?
  5. In Bertil Falk’s “Blue Night, Blue City”:

    1. The setting in time and place is not specified. Why not? At what time in history does the story appear to take place? And, generally speaking, where?
    2. The narration alludes to a story behind the story. What is the connection between the characters that Harry meets in his wanderings, from one night to the next? What may have happened between them?
    3. How does the history of the city’s “Great Square” foreshadow Harry’s conclusion about life in the city?
    4. At the end, “the lights of the blue city sparkled like multicolored jewels.” What is the function of the ending, and how might the symbolism of the lights be interpreted: as beauty and hope? Or as something else?
  6. In Victor Fernando R. Ocampo’s “Synchronicity”:

    1. Why does Felix compulsively wipe the seats of the bus with his handkerchief? At what point does the action become comical?
    2. Which proper names in the story are taken from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot?
    3. What is the connection between Beckett’s Godot and the adventures of Felix and Fr. Vladimir? Do either or both ever meet “Godot” literally or figuratively?
    4. How does Felix’s cellphone’s endless replaying of the Police album parallel the structure of Waiting for Godot?
    5. Is the “Infinite Libary” similar or identical to that of Jose Luis Borges?
    6. Felix observes with alarm that he and Fr. Vladimir are caught in a recursive story that amounts to a cliché. How does the story transcend the status of cliché?
    7. What is the difference and similarity between the bus driver and John G. Hancock’s Cerberus, in issue 506?

Responses welcome!

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