In Shola Balogun’ “Strange Fire,” does the poem necessarily apply only to Nigeria? In what way can it be read as a warning to the West?
In Marjorie Sadin’s “Down the Rue de la Paix,” if the lovers had such a good time in Paris, why would they never go back?
In Bob Welbaum’s “The Personality Test,” why might the three people in Sales have suddenly resigned? Which of the test questions might have motivated them to quit, and why?
In Elizabeth Racz’s “Last Night”:
- Is the narrator male or female? Does it matter?
- The title “Last Night” is a time reference relative to the present. “The Last Night” would be an absolute time reference and imply what?
In Denny Marshall’s “Big Bang Center”:
- What is the cosmological flaw in turning the telescopes around? What will the telescopes really see? Hint: “Everything we perceive comes to us from the past.”
- Who or what are “the ones trying to kill us”? If “they” are space aliens and if they’re so smart, why do they bother? Why not ignore us and let us spare them the trouble?
In Mary-Jean Harris’s “Puppet Masters”:
- The story has a comic ending. Does it come as a surprise or not?
- What do Edwin and Louis want and need to know about the “intentions” but aren’t told?
- How might the story be expanded into a novel 57 or more chapters in length? Can you think of so many different “intentions”? At what point might they begin to overlap and repeat each other?
In Jerry Guarino’s “Dream a Little Dream”:
- Joe has lived a long and happy life. And yet he yearns to return to his high-school days and hook up with a would-be girlfriend. What does his fixation tell you about him?
- How does the story sidestep our “dream” guideline?
- How would our review readers have reacted if the undertaker had reported: “Sorry, your father died of a heart attack while dreaming of having hot sex at his high-school reunion”?
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?