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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 733

Biting the Egg

  1. In Bob Beach’s “Terms and Conditions”:

    1. Would it make any difference how Harvey Madder answers the questions in the T&C questionnaire?
    2. Traditionally, “deals with the Devil” are contracts in which there is a meeting of minds; both parties — and the readers — know what’s at stake. Mr. Abbadon relies on a surreptitious clause in the contract. How might Harvey be seen as having agreed to the bargain even before he clicks “Accept”?
  2. In Gergely Berces’ “In the Crowd”:

    1. How can the passengers on the bus be “diverse” without being individuals? How can anyone know what to do or think when they’re alone and not “in the crowd”?
    2. Can Jason’s culture allow any pronouns other than “we” and “it”? Also, the word “teacher” is gender-neutral in English, but the equivalent may not be so in other languages, e.g. Lehrer (masculine) and Lehrerin (feminine) in German; or professeure, which has gained a feminine final -e in Canadian French. Which is more or less “discriminatory”: gender-neutral or gender-specific?

    3. At the end, Jason says “Not ‘we’. You and I.” Can’t the “we” of oppressive conformity be redefined? Must Jason rule out “we” even in instances of a joint voluntary effort in a humane cause?

    4. What elements in the story might illustrate the proverb “Something that can mean anything means nothing”?
  3. In Gary Clifton’s “Fight Bite”:

    1. In view of the account of Martha Crawford’s murder, how likely is it that she was able to bite through her assailant’s glove and into his hand?
    2. Dr. Rosetti says that human oral bacteria are so virulent that they will almost certainly cause a severe infection unless a bite wound is treated immediately. Is the claim true or is the doctor exaggerating wildly? Ask your dentist. What other source of microbes might cause a severe infection?

  4. In Carl Perrin’s “Two Views of a Fabergé Egg”:

    1. Does the story overstep in principle our “Dream Stories” guideline?
    2. What other conclusions can you think of than the substitution of a counterfeit Egg?
  5. In Oonah V. Joslin’s “Kin”:

    1. In “blood, cells, skin,” which term is of a different order than the others?
    2. What does the “fig leaf” image traditionally symbolize?
    3. In what way might the “fig leaf” metaphor apply to “mitochondrial DNA” and “our own sacred music”? Does the image imply that males play no part in that music?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright October 9, 2017 by Bewildering Stories
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