A Fire upon the Deep Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What are failing?

2. Who is wounded?

3. What could steal the secrets the Straumli archeologists uncover?

4. What do the Olsndots set up?

5. What do the Straumli archeologists call their settlement?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Lord Steel.

2. How does Pham stop the Blight and what happens to him?

3. About what does Twirlip of the Mists wonder and what is the Alliance for the Defense's response?

4. Describe the beings that attack the Olsndots.

5. What happens that makes Ravna worry that Pham is a construct of the Powers?

6. How do Peregrine and Scriber describe the humans?

7. Describe Peregrine Wickwrackrum / Wickwrackscar.

8. What is the aftermath of the fight at Saint Rihndell's Repair Harbor?

9. How does Bluestalk demonstrate that he is not in thrall to the Blight?

10. Describe Scriber Jaqueramaphan.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Often titles reveal much about one or more aspects of a novel. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think is the purpose of a title? How closely related to a major theme(s) of a book do you think a title should be? Or should it be?

2. How is the phrase "A Fire upon the Deep" relevant to the action of the novel? What sort of emotional and psychological response does the title evoke? Why do you think Vinge chose this title? If you were perusing the library for a book to read and saw this title, would it pique your interest? Why or why not. Does it seem to be the best title for the book?

3. If you were the writer of A Fire upon the Deep and your editor says the title must be changed, what would you choose? Why?

Essay Topic 2

In the Prologue, narration writes that the scientists know some intelligence is watching their work and waiting to pounce. They know that, like earlier humans, they are playing with fire, but the potential reward is tremendous. Discuss the following:

1. Considering the billions of sentient creatures that are wiped out of existence by this intelligence, could any potential reward be worth the possibility of unleashing an evil intelligence?

2. In the early part of the 21st century, Artificial Intelligence is just now being looked at as something that is possible, though many have fantasized about the idea for decades. Do you think the rewards of developing a machine with artificial intelligence is worth the risks? Or are there risks? Compare/contrast the possible rewards with the possible risks of developing artificial intelligence.

3. Do you think artificial intelligence could actually develop into an evil egomaniac? What is the artificial intelligence's main concern when the humans are working with it in the prologue?

4. Much of what is developed in labs in the "real" world has both a positive side and negative side. Consider the side effects of some medicines that can alleviate or cure disease. How does one determine when the balance of good swings too far towards the negative aspects?

Essay Topic 3

A Fire upon the Deep is written in the genre of science fiction. Discuss the following:

1. What sets science fiction apart from other genres? What are the characteristics of the genre of science fiction?

2. Based upon the characteristics you list in 1 above, discuss why A Fire upon the Deep falls under the genre of science fiction.

3. Some people might say that science fiction is merely for entertainment? Do you agree or not? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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