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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 723

Unintended Consequences

  1. In Charles B Pettis’ “How I Learned to Love the Internet”:

    1. The essay describes working with early computers. Is it always possible to know when the author exaggerates the difficulties? Why might the author have invented the names of hardware and software rather than cite real names?
    2. How does the reader know that the narrator is describing the “Internet” before the days of browsers and search engines?

    3. What is the object lesson in the narrator’s attempt to contact his mother? What is the essay really about: time-wasting technology or humanity and office dynamics?
    4. The first Net browser, Mosaic, became available in 1993. Today’s social media is almost entirely asynchronous, although the University of Guelph had a useful — and enjoyable — synchronous “chat line” called CoSy in the early 1990’s. What is the function of the “chat line” anachronism in the essay?

  2. In Scott E. Green & Herb Kauderer’s “War Games”:

    1. What does Godzilla normally symbolize in its various fictional incarnations?
    2. What constitutes the hubris of Godzilla’s opponents?
    3. What might be the unintended consequencs of “biological dampening rays”? Might they affect other life in the sea? Will Godzilla win in the end?
  3. In Matthew Harrison’s “The Difference Splitter”:

    1. In what countries might Sam be allowed to marry both Rita and Susan in a single, bigamistical ceremony?
    2. What script has the ideograph “two women under one roof”? What does the symbol mean?
    3. Sam could marry both Rita and Susan and pretend to be married to only one of them; it has been done. Are Rita and Susan different enough to require Sam to split into two different personalities?
  4. In Sjoerd van Wijk’s “Happy Tenth”:

    1. Mr. D. is obviously not French. Do we have any indication where he is from?
    2. What was Layla doing when she was killed?
    3. In what ways does Layla virtually accompany Mr. D. on his visit to Paris?
    4. Why is it necessary that Layla’s mother be absent? Could the story be told in the same or some other way from her point of view?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright July 24, 2017 by Bewildering Stories
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