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By Geoff Ryman

Discussed April 2017

Buy Air from


  • Mae – A fashion expert in a remote village
  • Mrs. Tung – Mae's “other self”
  • Joe, Siao, Mr. Ken – Mae's lovers
  • Kwan, Sunni, Sezen – Mae's chief allies in Progress
  • Mr. Oz, Tunch, Bugsy, Fatima – Key forces and players from the world beyond the village
  • The Villagers
  • Air


  1. Did you finish the book?
  2. Did you like it? Why or why not?
  3. Setting: The story was set primarily in a village in a country Ryman made up, yet which has many elements we might recognize from similar locations in the real world.
    • What did you think of the setting? The village? How did setting the story in a place that would be foreign to a Western audience affect your reading and what we might have thought about the story?
    • Why do you think Ryman chose to make up a country rather than use the real world?
  4. The book was published in the early 2000's, and takes place in a time close to “now” - did it feel current?
  5. Ryman tackles a lot in Air....culture clashes, generational changes, the digital divide, religious differences, gender struggles....which of them do you think he handled well? What do you think he didn't handle well?
  6. Air.....let's talk about Air. What did you think of the “always there, we're always connected, access to everything and everyone” technology.....would a story about Air have worked as well if it were written today during this period of backlash against globalization?
  7. What characters stood out to you? Why? Did you think Ryman's characters felt “realistic”?
  8. The story is primarily driven by female characters. How do you think Ryman did with that? Did you find that unusual?
  9. Did you find the ending of Air hopeful? Sad? How do the characters fare after the Flood (of water) and the Flood (of the future)?
  10. The subtitle of the book is Have, Not Have – in what ways is that subtitle played out in the story? Why do you think Ryman used that subtitle?
  11. Would you read more Ryman?
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