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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 685

(Paren)thesis and Antithesis

  1. In Bill Prindle’s “Ghost Writers”:

    1. What do True Crime readers supposedly prefer, as Nick Andrews explains in part 2?
    2. In part 3, how do the “Three Tricksters” — Billy, Mac and Dixie — persuade Nick to let them be the kind of characters they want to be?
    3. How does J.J. Carney transcend his expected stereotype?
    4. What does Nick learn from the failure of his story about an attempted suicide?
    5. In part 4, what two crucial things does Nick do after buying a few staples?
  2. In Julianne Carew’s “Mirrors,” does the plot overstep Bewildering Stories’ “dream” guideline?

  3. In Betsy Isbell’s “Heave(n) for Don(e) Pedro” the parentheses indicate alternate word choices. The parentheses are not thematic; they change shorter words into longer ones or vice-versa. It’s up to the reader which words to pick.

    1. Which of the two alternate, simultaneous stories do you prefer?
    2. Can you find any other places where typographical ambiguity might be made? Can you think of other stories in which something similar might be done?
    3. Can you cite other stories that experiment so boldly with language at the level of the word? In what way does “Don(e) Pedro” illustrate the meaning of “bewildering” in our title Bewildering Stories?
  4. In Louis Brierley’s “The Midnight Man”:

    1. In what way does the Midnight Man play chess “fairly”?
    2. The Midnight Man identifies Aisha’s queen with her father. The symbolism is obviously not based on gender. How does the Midnight Man explain the symbolism?
    3. Aisha has bad dreams about Daddy, and he seems to have been remorseful. For what? Was he at fault in a traffic accident? For something else? Did the men in “blue shirts” arrest him or merely escort him away for creating a disturbance?
    4. Why might Aisha and her friends have Arabic names?
    5. Bonus question: In what way does the Midnight Man resemble Terry Pratchett’s character, Death?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright October 3, 2016 by Bewildering Stories
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