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 would render the ghosts' plan worthless?

2. What is Steel's greatest success?

3. What makes Woodcarver feel better than she has in years?

4. What happens when the Old One enjoys full bandwidth?

5. What does Steel contemplate?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what condition is the ship in which the Olsndot family escapes Earth by the time it reaches an unnamed and habitable world?

2. Describe Arne and Sjane Olsndot and what happens to them.

3. What does Steel do in the dungeons?

4. What does Ravna learn when she visits Greenstalk and Blueshell in their quarters?

5. Describe Johanna.

6. What is Jefri doing during Woodcarver's army's attack?

7. Describe Johanna's deepening connection to and understanding of the people in the Woodcarver domain.

8. What the Arbitration Arts Corporation communicate in various posts about a new Power?

9. How are Peregrine and Scriber received in the Woodcarver's Domain and what happens to Johanna when she arrives with them?

10. What does Zonograph Eidolon post on the net about the Zone surge?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Steel admires the workmanship of the unburned coffins where the children are in suspended animation, but he recoils at the thought that the pups in suspended animation could mature and destroy his world--and that other ships might follow. Discuss the following:

1. Does Steel have legitimate concerns about the possible problems a ship from space could bring?

2. Is attacking the occupants of the ship the wisest course? What other actions might Steel have taken instead of attack? Would one of them have been more advisable?

3. How do you think Steel might have fared in the long run had he made friends with the Olnsdots rather than killing them?

4. Why does Steel leave Jefri alive? Is there any compassion at all to his decision?

Essay Topic 2

The time this novel takes place at least 5 billion years after our present time. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think technology will have advanced as far or farther than that shown in A Fire Upon the Deep?

2. Vinge sets the novel so far into the future of at least 5 billion years that it seems cultures might be incomprehensible from the present, yet much of the world of that time is still familiar enough to understand. Do you think this fact works for you as a reader? Do you think Vinge might have done better to have set the novel not so far into the future? Why or why not?

3. History seems to be cyclic; major civilizations have arisen and fallen just over the course of human recorded history, much less history before anything is recorded. Given that fact, do you think it is likely that there have been many cycles of history and civilizations in the 5 billion years between now and when A Fire upon the Deep takes place? Do you think many of these civilizations would actually seem far more incomprehensible than the universe which exists at the time of A Fire upon the Deep? Why or why not? What might one of these almost incomprehensible civilizations be like?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Compare/contrast Johanna Olnsdot to her brother, Jefri. How are they alike? How are they different? Do you think their differences are mainly due to their age differences? Compare how each initially react to the sentient beings of the planet where they land.

2. Compare/contrast Queen Woodcarver to Lord Steel. How are they alike? How are they different? How do their "world views" differ? Who is the better leader/ruler? Under which one would you rather live?

3. Compare/contrast Ravna to Pham. How are they alike? How are they different? Who is more likeable? Approachable? Compassionate? Intellectual?

4. Compare/contrast Greenstalk to Blueshell. How are they alike? How are they different? Are they more alike than they are different? Why or why not? Are either or both trustworthy? Are they likeable? How do they differ from other sentient beings introduced in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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