In the Books Section:
- Did you enjoy Nightmare? Why, or why not?
- The story of Evan/Lizard/Kendi's life covered in this book can seemingly be divided into three distinct periods: (1) capture, slavery, and Mistress Blanc's frog farm (pp. 1 - 69); (2) schooling with the Children of Irfan (pp. 70 - 197); and (3) the murder/mystery story (pp. 198 - 357). Do you feel these three parts of the story fit together?
- Nightmare is a prequel to Dreamer, Harper's first "novel of the Silent
Empire". If you have read both books, do they "fit" well or is there a "disconnect" between the two novels? Do you prefer one of these novels over the other? If so, why?
- A number of books we've discussed deal with the concept of "virtual reality" – for example: William Gibson's Neuromancer; Keith Hartman's The Gumshoe, The Witch And The Virtual Corpse; and Clive Barker's Weaveworld. How does Harper's handling of "virtual reality" (the Dream) compare/contrast with these other works? How well do you feel Harper handles the version of "virtual reality" depicted in his books?
- One reviewer has referred to Kendi as "an inspiring ethnic gay protagonist". What do you think about this statement?
- Lizard/Kendi enters into three homophilic relationships over the course of the story: one with Pup (on Mistress Blanc's frog farm); one with Pitr (his flying instructor); and one with Ben (Mother Ara's son). Do you think Harper did a good job of depicting these relationships? Do they "ring true" to you? How do these relationships inter-relate? If you have read Dreamer, does Harper carry this GLBT element over into Kendi's later life?
- What do you think about "the Wisdom of Irfan" (pp. 149 & 150)?
Recommended Additional Reading
Other books in the Silent Empire "series":