Wine, Poetry or Virtue
In Charles Baudelaire’s Enivrez-vous, the poem illustrates the value of a title. What if the translation were titled “Get Over Yourself”? Prospective readers would pass it up with a yawn. Or what if the title were “Exuberate!”? Prospective readers would be likely to laugh. And yet the poem uses a perfectly normal French word to say both of those things. Why is it so confoundedly difficult to translate into English?
In Bill Kowaleski’s Speculations:
- Why does Abdullah Naïr call Hector Sabio — who is also Jason Wise — “Inkohatum” at the end of the chapter?
- Why does Hector Sabio insist on shaking Sr. Gueverra’s hand?
In J. H. Malone’s Drunk on Time:
Over the entire story, Saul talks frequently about consuming strong alcoholic beverages and, at one point, even taking strong drugs. Does he ever become inebriated? Do the OxyContin pills have any noticeable effect? What is the dramatic function of drinking? If it were omitted, would anything else in the story be affected?
Does Liesl’s space-time scanner display certainties or probabilities? Does it differ in any way from the function of imagination? How does one of the horse races show that the scanner may be unreliable as a surveillance device?
Why does Liesl go home? Since Tommy Link is “drunk” on compulsive gambling, is Liesl “drunk” on time? Does Saul’s skepticism about the scanner contribute to breaking her “habit”? Or does Liesl realize she has placed a losing bet on a future with Saul?
[Bonus question] In a classic “time travel” story, T. L. Sherred’s “E for Effort” (1947), a type of “scanner” allows the viewer to see anything that happened in the past. It provides selective omniscience, and the consequences are catastrophic. What does Saul’s use of Liesl’s scanner reveal about his character?
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?