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Teranesia
By Greg Egan

Discussed August 2007

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Questions

  1. First, the traditional question. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  2. Having read Teranesia, would you read other works by Egan?
  3. What elements of the book do you think worked best for you? Which elements worked “worst” for you?
  4. Egan is primarily considered a “hard SF” writer. Did this book fit the mold of what *you* think of when you hear the term “hard SF”? If you went into reading this specifically expecting “hard SF” what about the book would stand out to you as fitting that mold? What would most surprise from the book?
  5. Much of Egan’s work deals with quantum theory and with genetics and biology. Here we seem to have a merging of the two. What did you think of the science – theoretical and otherwise – in Teranesia? Did you find it a believable extrapolation of our current knowledge?
  6. Egan’s protagonist and the people closest to him are rather young. In fact, Prabir is still a child through the early parts of the book, and only a young adult in the latter portions. Did Egan seem to capture the characters age/generational sense well?
  7. Academia seems to be a prime target for Egan’s malice in Teranesia. Did you find his barbs against academia accurate? Do you think he was too aggressive in his attacks?
  8. Likewise, feminism – particularly where it mixes with academia – is a target of Egan’s barbs. Did the portrayal of Prabir’s Aunt and “uncle” amuse you? Irritate you?
  9. Politics, particularly the politics of the Indonesian region, play a large role in Teranesia. Did you find Egan’s portrayals of government and military turmoil and their effects accurate?
  10. What did you get from Egan’s assaults on academia, feminism, politics, etc. Do you think he’s suggesting that the human race is fatally flawed? Should we be “saved” from the quantum DNA virus according to Egan? Do you agree?
  11. Teranesia’s protagonist is an openly gay young man, yet Teranesia is not a coming out story nor is it a sexually driven story. Did you find the content GLBT positive? Believable?
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