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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 511

None So Truly Bewildering

  1. In P. F. White’s “The Raven Song of Dr. Wrong”:

    1. What’s in it for Dr. Wrong? What does he get out of all his wheeling and dealing?
    2. Likewise, “Dr. Face” stands to lose a lot in assuming the role of Dr. Wrong. But how does he stand to benefit?
    3. Is the moral of the story that it’s better to invest in big science than in shipping carloads of schlock? While that may be true, is it a real choice?
  2. In David Barber’s “Pioneer 10 at the Heliopause”:

    1. Pioneer 10 passed the orbit of the Moon in 11 hours and the orbit of Mars in 12 weeks. Aldebaran is 68 light-years from Sol. About how fast is Pioneer 10 traveling?
    2. What is the Pioneer 10 Anomaly? How was it resolved? Does the solution necessarily rule out the poem’s conclusion?
  3. In Martin Kerharo’s The Dohani War, Chapter 4:

    1. How do the focus and the pacing of the action change between chapters 3 and 4?
    2. What role do Dexter and Eliza appear to play with respect to Jane? How does Jane appear to see them?
    3. In light of the conclusion of Chapter 3, what might Dexter’s and Jane’s role reversal in Chapter 4 portend?
  4. In S. L. Scott’s “Zombies Are Easier”:

    1. While Michael is choosing his clothes, what clues might tell the reader that Michael is worried not about fictional “zombies” but about something incomparably more serious? How are the clues structured and paced throughout the story?
    2. What story do the block quotes tell?
    3. Why has Michael moved the machete from his room to the shed?
    4. Bewildering Stories has many unofficial mottoes, among which are:
      • “Any story based on current events is out of date before it’s written.”
      • “There is no story so truly bewildering as reality.”
      Which of those two mottoes best applies to “Zombies Are Easier”?
    5. Does the story imply — or can readers reasonably infer — a forceful critique of the “zombie” subgenre of fantasy literature, which has been rife in popular culture in recent decades?

Responses welcome!

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