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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 686

Mistakes Were Made

  1. Shola Balogun’s “Footprints On a Deserted Path” will be culturally encrypted to anyone unfamiliar with Irodan theater. What short stories might the premise suggest?

  2. In Stephen Ellams’ “Something Inside of Me Is Still Crying”:

    1. Is the poem ekphrastic? Would it benefit from including an image of an artwork?
    2. Does the narrator lament a particular lost love or lost love as an abstraction?
  3. In Bill Kowaleski’s “Bain’s Proposal”:

    1. How old is Jiri when he is bought by the wealthies? How much time elapses during the account of his stay to date?
    2. How much education has Jiri had in his enclave? How much does he achieve between chapters 1 and 2? How would you rate him intellectually? As bright? As a genius? As a superhero?

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

    1. What good advice does the story give to writers?
    2. How do you feel about Nick Andrews’ and the author’s killing off their own characters?
    3. How might the story be seen as ironic, as a counter-parody of True Crime literature?
  5. In Charles C. Cole’s “Make No Mistake”:

    1. Is the story a fairytale, a prose poem or a combination of both? What elements of realism does it use? What elements of fantasy or near-fantasy?
    2. What “mistake” has been made?
    3. What does the story seem to say about the possibility of a separated couple’s achieving a new perception of each other?
  6. In Joshua Taylor’s Cloudview”:

    1. Zane says that his and Mira’s relationship “got even better after I began frequenting Chang’s Virtual Den.” What is his motivation? What “needs” does the Virtual Den seem to fulfill?
    2. Jed and Zaria seem to say that the only way to escape imprisonment in the Den is to tell someone else that escape is possible and offer a kind of magic wand. Does the solution create a logical loop?

    3. What is the moral? In what way does the story resemble the film The Matrix and similar stories?
  7. In Morris Marshall’s “That Burning Question”:

    1. The story begins at the end. In what way is the introductory scene essential? What does it show? How might it be shortened or made more interesting?
    2. Clinical depression and near-terminal anorexia are severe handicaps and very difficult to overcome. Does Marty offer Silvia more than empty encouragement? What remedy does the story appear to propose for both illnesses?

    3. Marty agrees with Silvia that their first meal together was “extravagant.” Does he use the best word? What other would you propose? How did they really meet for the first time?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright October 10, 2016 by Bewildering Stories
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