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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 555

Inexorable Boots

  1. In Prospero Pulma, Jr.’s “The Space Horsemen,” who or what are the horsemen and what do they have to do with Francisco’s grandmother?

  2. In Anthony Lukas’ “Counter Guy”:

    1. Why might the imp-control organization seem to be a small outfit rather than a full-fledged bureaucracy?
    2. Does Linda seem to know that Jennifer is or will be interested in the “counter guy”?
    3. In what way might the “counter guy” seem timid or at least oddly incurious?
  3. In Jill Corddry’s “Homeward Bound”:

    1. Why might Amalda not know that her foster brother, Wicker, is a space alien?
    2. How can Wicker wear his helmet only intermittently?
    3. Do any of the characters aside from Wicker seem to invite a larger story?
    4. What is the story really about? How might it be written without the fantasy, with Wicker as a human child?
  4. In LaVerne Zocco’s “Dolores Metcalf, Comforter”:

    1. Making the aged and infirm illegal has been a common theme in science fiction especially since Isaac Asimov’s Pebble in the Sky (1950). Can you cite earlier works that use the same premise?

    2. “Agents” go about “rounding up” candidates for euthanasia, but the process itself seems much less systematic. Where are Dolores and her fellow patients really kept: in a prison or a hospice?

    3. The “boots” are always heard, but we never see who is wearing them. What do the “boots” symbolize?

    4. Is it possible to “comfort” those who are expecting death to come for them, be it natural or otherwise?

Responses welcome!

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