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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 721

Coats of Many Colors

  1. Behrang Foroughi’s “Manhattan in the Rain” and Camille Parker’s “Muttawain” are presented as companion pieces in this issue:

    1. In what way are their viewpoints similar? How might their conclusions also be similar although apparently unrelated?
    2. In “Manhattan in the Rain,” the color black symbolizes what the author refers to as “privilege.” In what context does “black” represent wealth and, in another, poverty?
    3. In “Muttawain,” what is the function of color? What does it appear to mean to the narrator?
  2. In Don Webb’s “First Contact in a Coffee Cup,” the story is not really about coffee: chacun à son goût — To each his own (taste, flavor, etc.). What does the story illustrate? How does the attitude of the eight-year old remain that of the student he would become?

  3. In Roy Dorman’s “The High Priest of Roadkill,” Chief Adams surmises that Fred’s burying roadkill might be a religious rite. The thought is not unresonable, but has Fred given her or anyone else reason to think it might be true?

  4. In Sunayna Pal’s “A Letter to My Mind,” the poem describes a mind annoyed by involuntary rumination. What remedies would you recommend to overcome mental distraction?

  5. In Alan Katerinsky’s “Con Sweetie,” how might the word “con” have a double meaning? Note to our French-speaking readers: no naughty word is intended.

  6. In Bill Kowaleski’s “The Scapegoat”:

    1. At what point and in what previous chapter has Mira accomplished her personal goals and ceded to Seraphin the leadership of the revolutionary movement?
    2. Seraphin tells Mira that manufacturing alternate facts is a strategy for keeping political power. Has Kendrick used lies in his power struggle with Mira?

    3. The revolutionary government considers former allies and collaborators to be potential enemies. Why? Once all the former associates are shot, who will be left?
  7. In Kimberly Steinberg’s “Beat the Drum”:

    1. What are the family relationships? In particular, which children are whose?
    2. Would it do any good to report to the police that Ava has turned the missing dead boy into a zombie? Does the character Ava imply a story within the story? What might it be?

    3. Is Jordan paid for his exorcism services? Why can’t Father Joel perform a rite? Why is a Haitian “specialist” needed?
    4. What risk might Oliver and Kinsey be running by assuming false identities? Couldn’t they simply inform the court that they’re taking a long vacation? And won’t Ava know they’re gone? She does come visiting every night.

    5. The Haitian creole is almost pure French. Transcribed, it says, Tu bats l’tambour et puis tu danses encore. But what is the role of the drum in exorcising vampires?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright July 10, 2017 by Bewildering Stories
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