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Highest Frontier
By Joan Slonczewski

Discussed March 2013

Buy Highest Frontier from


  • Students of Frontera
    • Jenny
    • Anouk, Mary, Tom
    • Yola, Kendall, Charlie, Rafael, Feliz, etc
  • Staff of Frontera
    • Dylan, Clare
    • Hamilton, Abayanesh
  • Earth
    • Soledad/George, Jordi
    • Anna Carillo/Gar Guzman
    • The Creep
    • Aunts Meg/El


  1. Did you finish the book?  Did you like it, why or why not?
  2. This book is considered by many to be a YA novel.  Do you agree with that assessment?  What makes you agree or disagree?
  3. How did this book compare to other works by Slonczewski that you’ve read (if any)?
  4. What did you think of Slonczewski’s handling of academia and the college experience?
  5. What did you think, overall, of her handling of science and scientific issues in the novel?
  6. What did you think, overall, of her handling of social topics/issues in the novel?
  7. There are a lot of scientific advancements and items in this novel – what aspects or items stand out?  Did you find the level of advancement reasonable given the time frame?
  8. There are a lot of social commentary items in the book – what aspects or items stand out?  Did you find the level of social change reasonable given the timeframe?  Did the social and technological advancements seem to keep pace?
  9. What did you think of the Ultraphytes?  How quickly did you, the reader, realize Mary’s nature?
  10. Given the recent election cycle and the Supreme Court cases this week – what are your thoughts on the discussions of government, elections, and the role of religion in society as presented in the book?
  11. This book was on the recommended short list for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award last year... do you agree with the judges’ choice to place it there?  Why or why not?
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