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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 699

Cadence Count

  1. In Edward Ahern’s “The Explanation,” a pangram is a message that uses all the letters of the alphabet. “The Explanation” has 359 characters. What is the shortest pangram you can write without merely repeating the alphabet? The message must contain at least one complete sentence and must make sense.

  2. In Shola Balogun’s “Go to the Spider”:

    1. The title rings a change on what famous saying in Proverbs, ch. 6?
    2. Does Cyrano appear to agree or disagree in his episode “Go to the Cabbage, and Be Wise”?
  3. In Tyra Tanner’s “Blades of Light and Honor”:

    1. Do the warriors who come to attack the village intend to “cheat”?
    2. Is there any indication that Bladesun has been developing special powers? Can they be attributed to the sun alone?
    3. The warriors have a very clear concept of an afterlife and what is required to attain it. What philosophical dilemma does this idea of an afterlife create for Swordsun and her adversaries? How do the adversaries resolve it? How does Swordsun eventually resolve it?
  4. In LB Benton’s “The Bell Singers”:

    1. At what point in the story does the reader realize that the narrator and his fellows are not human beings?
    2. What events in human history might the story reflect, if only allegorically?
    3. Does the shaman really need a powerful potion to be able to predict the near and distant future?
    4. What technologies and strategies will the villagers need for defense against future invasions? Where might the scouts go on future expeditions, and why?
  5. In Stephen Ellams’ “Dear Heather”:

    1. What does “upon our school reunion” modify?
    2. Why, then, might the word “bare” rather than “bear” be correct?
    3. Is the clause “that stop and stare” correlative with “such intense infatuation” or is “that” a relative pronoun referring to “kisses”?
    4. Is the phrase “C chord vibration” complete?
  6. In Andrew Sacks’ “Chess Inexhaustible,” Andrew estimates the number of possible moves in all possible chess games.

    1. What is the shortest possible game? Suppose Andrew plays P-K4 and I play P-KR3. How many moves will it take him to make a “Fool’s Mate”?
    2. What is the longest game ever played? That is, a game in which the moves have been recorded?
    3. A fun experiment: Play a “mutual chicken” game. Any move that wins, loses or draws counts as a loss. At Black’s 40th move, the rules reverse: both White and Black play to win. What is your best strategy?

    Responses welcome!

    date Copyright January 23, 2017 by Bewildering Stories
    What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

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