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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 548

Play It Again, Earl

  1. In Mark Bonica’s Spiraling In, chapter 5:

    1. What does Driscoll curse at the end of the chapter? Why?
    2. With what expletive does the chapter begin and end? How might it be construed as unconscious irony?
  2. In Sherman Smith’s Two Blind Men and a Fool, chapter 8, how does Earl’s piano playing punctuate the conversation between himself, Stella and Henry?

  3. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “Music to My Ears,” eyes and ears provide different kinds of information. What might a reader see that a listener would not hear? Likewise, what might a listener hear that a reader would not see? (Test: select the text, turn on your computer’s speech software and close your eyes.)

  4. In Sherri Cook Woosley’s “Two Sides of a Triangle”:

    1. Why did Joe take up with Rosie?
    2. What is the tone of Rosie’s parting words to Myrtle?
  5. In Shaun Hayes’ “Mrs. Carmichael’s Best”:

    1. How does Mrs. Carmichael seem to feel about her late husband, Harold?
    2. At what point in the story can the reader reasonably surmise that Mrs. Carmichael is bent on taking drastic revenge for the real or imagined slights she has endured?
    3. At the end, Mrs. Carmichael has committed mass murder. Does she epitomize or illustrate in some way the mentality of a terrorist?
  6. In Harry Lang’s “The Ministry of Heavenly Understanding”:

    1. At the beginning of part 1, Tche is shown to be a keen observer. Does he display any understanding of justice?
    2. At the end of part 1, the astronomers observe twelve solar flares. Why does Quox not seem to share the astrologers’ foreboding?
    3. At the end of part 2, Tche has destroyed his spectroscope. Is the act rational? How does it fit Tche’s character? In what ways is Tche like and not like Galileo?
    4. What is the significance of the week of stormy weather, at the end? What might be the implication if Tche looked up at a clear and sunny sky?
  7. In Channie Greenberg’s “Becoming a Grifter”:

    1. The action takes place in the Ukraine and Germany. When?
    2. Why is the origin of the name “Methuselah” important? Gender aside, what does the name connote, and what does it mean in the context of the story?
    3. What does the word “grifter” seem to mean in the context of the story?
    4. The story’s genre is:
    5. Why might readers suspect that the story is “keyed”? In particular, why might it appear to refer cryptically to a real person?

Responses welcome!

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