Study Questions for "The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party" & "What's Sute to Come."

Our final two stories are rather different from each other. Do they serve somehow to further refine our understanding of what belongs in the category, "slipstream," or do they demonstrate that what is called a developing genre is little more than an ambiguous, catch-all label creating a space for anything that doesn't fit in an established category or genre? Here are a few issues to consider:

"The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party" [2003] by David J. Schwartz

  1. Who, specifically, narrates this story? Hint: He is a fictional adventure hero whose first name is "Allan."
  2. Xaya is apparently a god of the mountains for the Yakut/Turkic peoples of Northwestern China and the Republic of Sakha in the Russia Federation. These cultures in their early history were noted for raising reindeer and cattle, as well as for fishing and hunting. Available images show them in fur-linded, hooded coats that resmble those we associate with eskimo culture in North America. Why would Allan be writing to Xaya?
  3. Do you recognize any of the other names and references in the story? Why do you think Schwartz drops so many names and other references? Do they have anything in common?
  4. Ultimately, what is the point of this story? What is supposed to be its appeal?

 

"What's Sure to Come" [2002] by Jeffrey Ford

  1. Ford presents his story in five numbered parts or episodes. Does each episode have a singular point of some kind that builds toward a conclusion? What is the relationship [the thematic concern or developing plot idea] that unifies these five sections?
  2. The grandfather studies racing tout sheets and bets on horses, but is not as successful as the grandmother. How do their different resultshelp to establish what is truly in conflict in this story?
  3. When the cardplayers decide to have the grandmother read the cards for them to determine the number of the horse likely to win the race, what is the flaw in their reasoning?
  4. By the end of the story, what kind of knowledge is validated?
  5. Is this story in any way similar to Ford's "Bright Morning"?