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 is Flenser subtly trying to undermine?

2. What does Steel order ignited?

3. What does Pham learn that Jefri's parents have done?

4. What is happening to Woodcarver?

5. To what does Steel have a natural aversion?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In order to understand the action in A Fire upon the Deep, it is helpful to understand the layout of the universe which exists five billion years hence. Discuss the following:

1. Describe the various layers of the universe and how each one functions. Which ones are welcoming to technology? In which ones can most technology not exist? Where does Earth fall in these layers?

2. In the Epilog, Peregrine says he believes they will one day travel in space, especially now with the "two-legs" technology and knowledge. Do you think space travel will be a good thing for this planet to aspire to? Why or why not? Given where this planet is positioned within the beyond, can they develop space travel? At what speed will they be able to travel?

3. Do you think it is possible that space will change as much as it has in A Fire upon the Deep given 5 billion years? Why or why not?

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

Discuss the following:

1. What do you think are the characteristics of a successful novel?

2. Analyze and discuss A Fire upon the Deep based upon the criteria you decide upon in #1 and judge if A Fire upon the Deep is a successful novel. Explain your rationale with specific examples.

3. Do you think the fact that A Fire upon the Deep falls within the science fiction genre changes the criteria upon which its success should be judged? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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