Welcome to the first discussion post for the Defying Doomsday Read-Along! If you missed the starting post, you can check it out here. In a nutshell, we read about four stories a week, with questions posting on Thursdays. Feel free to jump in and join the read-along at any point. You can answer the questions in the comments, or answer on your own blog and share a link below. You can also tweet as you read using #readDefyingDoomsday.
For next week, we’ll be reading stories 5-8 (“In The Sky With Diamonds” through “Selected Afterimages of the Fading”).
Below are the first set of discussion questions. (Yay!) Because these are short stories and it can be easy to confuse titles (if you’re me), I’ve given a one line reminder of sorts for each story before the question. Also, while some of these questions are more reflective and thoughtful, I also wanted some to be just plain fun. Here we go!
Discussion Questions: Stories 1-4
1. What do you think of Robert Hoge’s statement, made in the introduction, that ‘People with disability already live in a post-apocalyptic world.’?
2. In “And The Rest of Us Wait,” Iveta and her family join a multitude of others in an underground shelter to wait out the impending meteor impact. Many of the other refugees show anger and resentment about the “special treatment” received by those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Is it really special treatment? And do you think this portrayal of resentment was realistic?
3. In “To Take Into The Air My Quiet Breath,” three sisters journey to a hospital through a land devastated by a flu epidemic. Despite the closeness of these sisters, there are so many silences, so many secrets being kept—and finally shared. How much hope do you have for these characters at the end of the story?
4. In “Something in the Rain” Holly takes good care of herself and her cat, despite something hungry in the rain. My question is, are you as much of a cat person as Holly is?
5. In, “Did We Break the End of the World?” Jin and Aisha are scavengers in a city after the Pulse knocked out electricity and left only teenagers. What would be your specialty to scavenge / sell at a market after the apocalypse?
6. Are there any other thoughts or comments you want to share?
1. This statement really struck me. It’s made me think a lot about how much privilege and ease I experience as an able-bodied person, and how much of human society and created spaces are structured in ways that exclude and/or dismiss people with disabilities. And, in the current context of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, watching our senators vote down amendments that protect the level of current health coverage, that assure coverage for those with pre-existing conditions (e.g. chronic illnesses), and so on–this statement as rung even more true my ears.
2. I’ve seen this kind of resentment before, and I most often associate it with someone of privilege who resents not being further privileged–without understanding just how narrow and self-serving their perspective is. So no, giving some an equal chance at survival is not special treatment, at least not in my book (no pun intended!).
3. I loved this story, though I have to say that the priest in the prologue, who told the twins they had roses in their lungs, made me want shake my kindle in anger. Gah! I did love how this was a story of leaving a safe space to take chances, and that included each of the siblings finally leaving the safety of silence to speak their secrets. I think the author wanted us to have a sense of hope at the end, with the moonlight shining on the rosebuds, and I suspect that if anyone can survive this particular apocalypse, it will be these three–and, I hope, Baby. They have grown up with pain and they have seen a great deal, and they know how to prepare and plan, and they are resilient in a way that many others are not. So I’ve got hope, here, even as I know that they’re living a particularly barren and terrifying post-apocalyptic world.
4. I’m with the cat. I loved the the ethical grays of this story, and the mix of pragmatism and love that we see in Holly. And, having young children and teaching them about rules and logical consequences, I was both shocked by and appreciative of just how that played out.
5. As a wordsmith, I’m having a hard time thinking about how to sell my art in a scavenger-based market. But then again, when you’re facing the end of the world, maybe stories become that much more important. I might have to work on my oral storytelling skills though, supplemented by scavenging and selling the best stories out there (and whatever survival guides I can find!).
6. I’m really just loving this read as much as I did the first time through. I’m hoping you’re enjoying it as well!
I’m looking forward to the discussion here!