Telling a Metastory
In Robin Helweg-Larsen’s Near Future — Same Show:
- To whom does the pronoun “they” refer in the course of the poem?
- What is the function of the “jack in the back of the neck”?
- What “shows” does the poem enumerate? Of what kinds are they?
- What is meant by “watching”? What seems to be its effect? What does the poem seem to decry?
In Thomas Sullivan’s And They Were All Saved:
- Could the dragon Garrn change itself back into Raymond if it wanted to?
- Garrn wonders briefly whether Bookworm and Sword will ask for something other than the dragon’s help. What might Garrn expect?
- The narration oscillates between the past and present tenses. Does the verb tense inconsistency achieve any special effect or might the choice of one tense or the other be preferable?
- Is Raymond’s story a tragedy due to a tragic flaw or is it a disaster, the result of an accident?
In Lance Dean’s Brain Dead Peep Star Dreams:
- At what point in the story does the reader learn the narrator’s name?
- Is the point of view shift at the end of the story necessary?
- The story oversteps Bewildering Stories’ “Dead Narrators” guideline. How might the logical contradiction be avoided? Is the narrator’s death necessary?
- The narrator thinks and talks like a human being but is, physically, a grotesque parody of different types. Is the story a fable? Would the satire be more or less effective if the narrator were fully human?
- Is the story about the narrator or Pancorp? How might the historical backstory be conveyed other than by the narrator’s ruminations?
In Shawn Jacobson’s The Man Who Could Only Be Human:
- The story is a sequel to “On Memory Lanes” and is evidently a second chapter in a longer work, such as a novel or novella. What might a prefaced synopsis tell the readers?
- How many different stories does “The Man Who Could Only Be Human” actually tell?
- What is likely to happen in chapter 3, a future sequel?
- Are the Spirit People space aliens or are they really humans who have parnormal powers?
- What powers do the Spirit People seem to have besides telepathy and telekinesis?
- How do normal humans typically react to the Spirit People’s special powers? How else might they react?
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?