A Fire upon the Deep Test | Final Test - Hard

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Pham suspect about Steel and Jefri?

2. Who does Steel threaten to kill?

3. Who talks about the illusion of self awareness?

4. What does Steel worry that Amdijefri will see?

5. Who moves in with Johanna?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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 chapter 15, Steel tours his dungeons, where the "raw material" is driven crazy to serve as the basis "blank packs." The dungeon is described in horrifying detail and contrasted with Woodcarver's processes aimed at the same goal, but bounded by "traditional ethics." Discuss the following:

1. Though Steel's methods are more horrific than Woodcarver's, their end goal is the same. Is this goal ethical? Why or why not?

2. Do you think what Steel and Woodcarver are attempting to do is moving the evolution of the Tines forward? Why or why not?

3. What do you think Steel and Woodcarver want in creating blank packs? Are there other ways of obtaining the same end without dubious means?

(see the answer keys)

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