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Too Like the Lightning
By Ada Palmer

Discussed May 2021

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  1. Did you finish the book? Why or why not?
  2. What did you think about the balance between plot development/action and world building/information?
  3. What did you think about how the concept of gender was addressed (or specifically not addressed) by the society in the story?
    1. What did you think of the author’s use of gender in terms of balancing presenting how different it is from current usage without making it too much of a burden for the reader to “translate”?
  4. What did you think of the framing mechanism with Mycroft telling a story in an archaic style?
  5. What did you think of the author’s use of point of view, with multiple transitions between first person to third person?
    1. What do you think the author was trying to accomplish, and do you think they were successful?
  6. Why do you think the author chose to write the story from the perspective of characters talking about things that have already happened rather than describing them as they happen?
  7. There’s a lot to unpack in the world building. Of these themes, what worked well for you? What didn’t work as well?
    1. Religion as forbidden except within strict guidelines
    2. Definitions of morality and obscenity
    3. Economic system – if no one has to work?
    4. Justice system – very few people can impose capital punishment, the servicer system
    5. Government system – how people gain, use, and lose power
    6. Transportation system and its importance to the current society
    7. Set-sets and nurturist debate
    8. Needs of the few vs. the needs of the many, and who is “important” to the larger society
  8. There were several “mysteries” in the story—what surprised you? What didn’t?
  9. How did your like or dislike of characters change over the course of the book as the author revealed new information or the characters were placed in extreme situations?
  10. What did you think of Madame and her use of power?
  11. What was your reaction to the idea of miracles/magic and a god in a sci-fi novel?
  12. What did you think of the hives and the options for people’s choice of “family”?
  13. Which hive would you belong to, and why?
  14. Would this make a good movie or mini-series?
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