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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 716

Check Your Calendar

  1. In Bill Kowaleski’s “Massacres,” do the wealthies who are being massacred know about the final-defense virus?

  2. In Sarah Ann Watts’ “Attrition,” where does the “venom” come from, and what does it do?

  3. In Gary Clifton’s “Home Free”:

    1. What is the dramatic irony? What do the readers know about Callie and the money that the policeman and fire chief do not?
    2. What details does the fire chief mention that might make him suspect that Callie started the fire and has been pretending to be panicked? Why do the fire chief and policeman give Callie the benefit of the doubt?

  4. In Shola Balogun’s “I, Too, Shall Anoint the Stones”:

    1. What is the Biblical reference in the “anointed stones”?
    2. Why might the last stanza return to earth, in a sense, rather than climb the mystical ladder to Heaven?

  5. In Bill Prindle’s “Somewhere Beyond the Sea”:

    1. At the end of part 3, why might Michael find Bess’s fingertips unaccountably cold? How does that earlier experience differ from the love scene in part 6?
    2. Why might it be significant that Michael can read the name “Alva Clement” on the grave marker but not the dates?

    3. At the end of part 7, Michael’s father tells Michael that the Clements might not enjoy tourists’ coming to their island if word gets out that it’s a nice place to visit. Why might Michael — knowing only what he does at this point — think that his father’s caution makes no sense?
  6. In Susanne Thomas’s “A White Picket Fence”:

    1. The story uses the narrative present tense rather than the past. What are its advantages and disadvantages?
    2. What details indicate that Micah is the “reasoner” in the story?

    3. How long can the haunted house survive until it becomes a drag on the real-estate market and the object of criminal investigations?

    4. Rebekah wants only what she thinks is best for her family. In the end, she sacrifices herself for her children. Does she have a tragic flaw or is there poetic justice in her fate? Or is the haunted house merely an accident waiting to happen to anyone who lives there?


Responses welcome!

date Copyright May 29, 2017 by Bewildering Stories
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