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. To what does Steel have a natural aversion?

2. What is Flenser subtly trying to undermine?

3. Why does Pham power up his weapons?

4. What does Pham suspect about Steel and Jefri?

5. Who are the three butterflies?

Essay 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 one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of manipulation and power in A Fire Upon the Deep. Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with manipulation and power? Why? What are some symbols of manipulation and power? Symbols of powerlessness? What characters seem powerless?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of genocide in A Fire Upon the Deep. Which characters seem to accept that genocide is sometimes necessary? Why? Which characters seem opposed to genocide no matter what? Why? Which ones seem not to care one way or the other?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death. Death happens on a scale that is almost incomprehensible with billions of sentient beings being wiped out of existence. Does this inure a reader to the impact of death? When death is brought to a more individual level, such as in the world where the Olnsdots land, does it have a greater impact? How do the Tines' civilization seem to view death? What is different about the death of some of the Tine's packs? Do you think the way the Tines live in packs makes death easier or more difficult to bear?

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