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. Who keep out of sight?

2. What is built faster than anything on Straum?

3. What does the crew get past Johanna?

4. Where are the archeologists from?

5. Why can Ja not reveal Scriber's murderer?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Ravna Bergsndot.

2. Describe Peregrine Wickwrackrum / Wickwrackscar.

3. Describe the beings that attack the Olsndots.

4. What causes a rift between Pham and Ravna?

5. Why is Scriber depressed?

6. Describe Lord Steel.

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

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

9. What is Lord Steel dealing with as Woodcarver's forces advance?

10. Why is the trip to rescue Jefri going to take longer and what does Ravna do to help Jefri because of the longer time?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

In A Fire upon the Deep, it is hard to know who is the "good" guy versus the "bad" guy. Discuss one of the following:

1. Name two groups, factions, or individuals who are untrustworthy and analyze their actions and impact upon the plot throughout A Fire Upon the Deep. How far into the book does it take to separate the untrustworthy from those who can be trusted?

2. Name two groups/factions/individuals who are trustworthy and analyze their actions and impact upon the plot throughout A Fire Upon the Deep.

3. Are there some characters who can be trustworthy at times and not trustworthy at other times? Who? Why do they vacillate?

4. Ravna seems to be much more trusting than Pham. Do you think Ravna is too trusting? Is Pham too suspicious? Who does Pham mistrust and why? Give specific examples.

(see the answer keys)

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