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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 820

Lights On and Out

  1. In John B. Rosenman’s When the Mad God Wakes:

    1. Does the story overstep our “Dream Stories” guideline?

    2. At the end of Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, “The Nine Billion Names of God,” the stars also begin to go out. Do they do so for a reason that is the same as, similar to or completely different from that of “When the Mad God Wakes”?

    3. “Everything we perceive comes to us from the past...” The “mad god” must have predicted his own awakening. Defining stars as self-igniting celestial objects — i.e. not planets or comets, etc. — what is the shortest possible lead time for the prediction? The longest, considering that the stars must be visible to Josh in his dorm room?

    4. What elements does the story have in common with Jeffrey Greene’s “To the Berginlight Bridge,” which concludes in this issue?

  2. In Jeffrey Greene’s To the Berginlight Bridge:

    1. What is the function of the spheres?
      What is the significance of the narrator’s memory of a name and family?

    2. Are all the remaining men on the road as travelers or do some still live in villages?

    3. Why might the Berginlight Bridge be a bridge rather than, say, a castle? Is its origin ever really explained? Does the Bridge exist in the surviving women’s reality, or is it a virtual part of the “game”?

    4. Does the story overstep either or both of two guidelines in our Review Readers’ Checklist: #7 Dream Stories and #8 Dead Narrators?
      If it is a “dream story,” whose dream is it?
      If the narrator dies at the end, could the guideline be sidestepped without changing the narrative point of view?
      Will the human race go extinct if the remaining men in suspended animation choose to die?

    5. What is the difference between the narrators’ solipsism in “To the Berginlight Bridge” and in John B. Rosenman’s “When the Mad God Wakes,” also in this issue?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright © August 12, 2019 by Bewildering Stories
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