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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 538

Stunt Men

  1. In James Bright’s “Pyrrhic Victory,” are Erik’s “clones” real or virtual? Are they fighting a real or virtual enemy?

  2. In Jimmie A. Kepler’s “The Prairie Dogs Have Coal Miners’ Helmets With Lights,” what would happen to the story if the prairie dogs were omitted? What is the story really about?

  3. In Mary B. McArdle’s “Grounded,” how might a change in mode of transportation or even in elevation affect the poet’s viewpoint?

  4. In Bill McCormick’s “A Letter From an Editor”:

    1. How does the letter indicate that it is supposedly written in a medium-future setting and not in the present? What do the addresses imply about the cultural setting?
    2. In what way does the letter set the scene of the story? How would you characterize Quentin Oglethorpe’s reaction to it?
    3. Although revealing, the letter itself is incidental to the action and does not necessarily set the story in motion. What other title can you propose for the story?
    4. What does the story satirize?
  5. In Janis Zelcans’ “Another Man’s Treasure”:

    1. What proverb does the title allude to?
    2. Where does the story take place?
    3. At the end, Chad manages to decipher the script in which the warning sign is written. Even if he managed to “translate” the words, would he understand them?
    4. Even if you understand the abbreviation “SPQR,” which frequently appears on Roman monuments, do you know what it meant to the ancient Romans? What does historical oblivion imply for sites such as the one discovered by Joni, Ryhanen and Chad?
  6. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “Casting Couch”:

    1. To whom does “they” in “They never listen” refer to?
    2. What is the effect of the variant spelling “triump” in the quoted lines?
    3. Does the extended quotation turn the poem into an essay?
    4. Would equality triumph over sexism if Romeo brought Juliet a cup of coffee?

Responses welcome!

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