In the Books Section:
Discussed March 2002
By Charles Sheffield
- What do you think about the "throw-away" characters in the beginning? Is this an effective way to setup a book of this nature?
- Consider the number of interwoven stories here. Does the beginning hint at it, get you ready? What were the stories going on here? Mars, cancer, serial killer, religious cult, Armageddon, presidential hero. Are there more?
- Sheffield uses a standard 3rd person narrative for the most part except for the 1st person secret diary portions. Why did he do it, did it work, was it useful in any way?
- What did you think about opening with Dr. Guest. He certainly has a lead role - how did the dependency of the book on this guy work for you? What, exactly, was he trying to do? What were his motivations? What did you think about him at the end of the book? Did your opinion of him change at all?
- What do you think about judicial sleep as this society's solution to the penal system. Were there any problems with it? Does it solve more problems than it creates? Would you vote for it?
- Did you find that all the technology worked well together? Was there anything "far-fetched" in your opinion? If so, was it handled to your satisfaction?
- There are quite a few different tech ideas woven together here, does that work?
- What about the economic trends in developing nations that made them more vulnerable to the supernova. Does this make sense to you? What about the throw-back revolution that happened in the US that made us less vulnerable. Would stock-piling of weapons have given us an edge anyway?
- Okay, now the gay characters. How do you feel the gay characters were handled in this book. Good thing or bad thing? What about the portrayal of Auden? What about the portrayal of Lopez? How did this help the story or hinder the story in your mind? Did their relationship end well?
- What about the other romances going on in the book? Is this really a romance novel in disguise?
- Who is your most memorable character? Why?
- The end – did it work for you? Did you feel set up?