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of Note

By Geoff Ryman

Discussed February 2005

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  1. Book Discussion Questions 101....Did you like this book? Why, or why not?
  2. The protagonist, Michael Blasco, is a research scientist. The book is narrated in the first person. Being a scientist, is his way of looking at the world, his life, his "gift", and even sex, colored by his scientific training? How does this measured way of thinking come across in the book? Does it enhance, deter, or do nothing for your enjoyment of the book?
  3. The book does not follow a traditional linear story. Each chapter begins with a question, such as, "So how does it start?" or "Can Angels be dead?", and the story often switches in time. What did you think of the writing style and the structure of the book? Did it help you get into the story or did you find it off putting? How?
  4. Several themes are explored in the book - playing God, love, loss, happiness, loneliness, desire, unfulfillment, humiliation, missed opportunities, and of course, lust - to name a few. What themes do you get from the book and how well do you think they were explored and answered? Do you think the author realistically tackled these themes in the construct of an unrealistic and fantastical world? How?
  5. A review on the web suggested that the author creates a metaphor with the 'Angels' as Michael's gift is used to highlight a cutting attack on the real misuse of power in the world where sex is concerned. Would you agree with this assessment? What other metaphor might the 'Angels' represent?
  6. In spite of the heavy subject matter, the book has a lot of humor and some outrageously funny sequences (Tarzan and Picasso come to mind). Do you think there is a good balance between the light and dark elements of the book? If not, what could the author have added or taken away from the book?
  7. One might think from the cover description that "Lust" is an erotic read. This book does have a lot of graphic descriptions of sex in it, but does graphic sex make this book erotic? Is the book erotic? How does Michael talk about his sexual encounters? Do his descriptions influence how erotic the tone of the book is? Do you think the reader's sexual orientation would influence how erotic they think the book is?
  8. Having read Lust a few months ago, and rereading it recently in preparation for the discussion, it's been interesting seeing what clues the author introduces in the first part of the book that foreshadow what's going to happen in the second half. Did you guess why Michael is impotent?
  9. The book ends with the following sentence, "Then Michael knew what that meant, too." What did Michael know?
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