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. From what is Pham recovering?

2. About what does Steel worry about the "pups" in the unburned coffins?

3. When does Ravna tell Jefri they will arrive?

4. What is the plan for the alien ship?

5. What would the Straumli archeologists sell when they were done?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Pham occupy his time while the OOB draws closer to the planet where Jefri awaits?

2. What do the two "sides" (the new Power and the humans) do to try to neutralize the other?

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

4. How do packs communicate and how is this related to the fact they believe Johanna is dead when she faints?

5. What are Blueshell and Greenstalk ordered to do and what do they fear?

6. What are the Olsndots' priorities after landing?

7. Why does Pham distrust Steel?

8. What does Ravna do to keep Pham from slipping back into godshatter and what is Pham's response?

9. What does Steel do in the dungeons?

10. What do Peregrine Wickwrackrum and Scriber Jaqueramaphan observe and how do they describe the Olsndot's ship?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Whenever reading a science fiction or fantasy novel, one must become familiar with new terminology that explains concepts or technology that is not a part of the "real" world. In the case of A Fire upon the Deep, there is a great deal of new terminology and familiar words with new meanings. Discuss the following:

1. Find five terms that are a part of the world of A Fire upon the Deep that are a part of the language of 2010 but mean something different. Define the words as used in A Fire upon the Deep and compare those five words as to how they are currently used in the American English language.

2. How does the language of A Fire upon the Deep from that of 2010? Are there words you did not know from that time? What? How do you learn their meanings? What does it mean to grasp a the meaning of a word through its context? Can you do that in A Fire upon the Deep? Give an example of several words whose definition are made clear through the context of how the word is used.

3. There are ways of learning about a new world or time when reading a science fiction or fantasy novel. Discuss the ways you were able to understand the world of A Fire upon the Deep through its vocabulary. Did you have to look up any words?

4. Were there any words you never really understood from A Fire upon the Deep? Which ones?

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?

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