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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 711

Enlighten That Cigarette

  1. In Charles C. Cole’s “Pain Beach,” who has the most pain to shred?

  2. Joseph Waugh’s “The Soon and Ending Nights”:

    1. In current literature, including cinema and television, smoking is taboo. Any character who smokes is ipso facto identified as a fool or a villain. Is that the case in this story?
    2. How do we know that neither of the two characters is a chronic smoker?
    3. How could the same story play out with any other talisman than a cigarette?
  3. In Daniel Waldman’s “The Speechwriter”:

    1. What elements does the story appear to borrow from George Orwell’s 1984?
    2. “Mother-given” names are taboo. What does the restriction imply about the status of women in the Speechwriter’s society?
    3. Does the story satirize any particular government or does it apply to all authoritarian regimes?
    4. How is the Speechwriter’s conscious use of language reflected in the political discourse of today’s politics?
  4. In Joseph McKinley’s “Perfect Wisdom Berry Blast”:

    1. Which of the main characters in the story find their hopes fulfilled?
    2. Which characters are disappointed or settle for less than they might like?
    3. What is the cultural significance of General Liu’s preference in pipes and tobacco?
    4. Do the monk’s berries bring rational enlightenment or despair?
  5. In Stephen H. Buhner’s “The Death of Annie One-Horse”:

    1. Annie’s ethnicity and religion are never named. Why not? How do Annie’s people seem to feel about Apaches?
    2. What contrasts with Annie’s spirit healing? Why does she reject other ways of healing?
    3. Camber and Margie set out on a trek of several days across a desert in search of Annie. In what way are they ill-prepared for the journey?
    4. At the end, Camber takes Annie to her “resting place.” Where is it? How can he do that without abandoning Margie?
    5. What disillusionment leads Camber to decide to adopt Annie’s traditions?
    6. Is the contrast between old and new, native and foreign necessarily a choice between good and bad?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright April 24, 2017 by Bewildering Stories
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