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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 550

Beyond and Back Again

  1. In Marian Brooks’ “The Rings of Saturn”: The author explains that the “rings of Saturn” is a colorful expression for the place where lost objects go. What other allusions to outer space occur in the story? Might they have a symbolic importance?

  2. In Mark Bonica’s, Spiraling In:

    1. In chapter 8, Persephone’s last words are “Why have you abandoned me?” She must know that Driscoll has not abandoned her. To whom might she be speaking?
    2. In chapter 9, Persephone orders some soup for Driscoll. Does she hand it to him? What is the significance of her explaining that she or Driscoll must perform the monitoring functions manually?
  3. In Visalakshi Viswanathan’s, “The Minstrel’s Tryst”:

    1. Why might the author choose the Greek form of the name “Pluton” rather than the Latin “Pluto”?
    2. Why is it important that Cerberus is asleep?
    3. Bonus question: What is the mythical connection between Pluton and Persephone (cf. Spiraling In)?
    4. Super-bonus question: Are the rhymes in -[ist] easier or more difficult than those in -[ix] in Stéphane Mallarmé’s famous “Sonnet du Ptyx”? Discussion here.
  4. In Adam Natali’s “A Nun and the Afterlife”:

    1. The narrator is a skeptic and a technologically well-equipped paranormal investigator. What is he like personally?
    2. Sometimes messages can be delivered indirectly. One might ask how a nun, of all people, would need help in finding her way in the afterlife. Does she really need the investigator's prayer? Why is she really there, right where she knows he will find her?
    3. At the end, the narrator says, “I wanted to believe that, but I didn’t. But I hoped.” What might that be called?
  5. In Tom Borthwick’s “Living in the Singularity”:

    1. Why does Mary leave Tim?
    2. What stages of grief does Tim go through?
    3. What experiences does Tim suspect Integration denies? Which sense seems to predominate in his recollection of Mary?
    4. Why would so many people opt for Integration? Don’t they share Tim’s doubts?
    5. Does the Solacium Corp. really care how happy applicants are, or will they take anybody?
    6. Disregard the social and economic effects of “Integration”: what is the story really about?

  6. Responses welcome!

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