Defying Doomsday Read-Along: Discussion Part 2 (Stories 5-8)

Posted by on Jan 19, 2017 in Read-Along | 2 comments

Defying Doomsday Read-Along: Discussion Part 2 (Stories 5-8)

We’re Back for Part 2!

Yay for the second discussion post for the Defying Doomsday Read-Along! So glad you guys are reading along with me–I am really enjoying this! If you’re new to the party, you can check out the starting post 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 9-12 (“Five Thousand Squares” through “Giant”).

Below are this week’s discussion questions. (Yay!) Like last week, I’ve given a one line reminder of sorts for each story before the question. And again, 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 5-8

1. “In the Sky With Diamonds,” opens with Megan in her capsule, attempting to distract the aliens from pursuing and destroying her sister’s ship. What do you think of Megan’s argument that humans both destroy the sacred and contain it within them?

2. “Two Somebodies Go Hunting” is the story of Lexi and Jeff setting off to hunt a kangaroo through the desert-like outback. How do you think Lexi and Jeff’s relationship may be different going forward?

3. In “Given Sufficient Desperation,” Vera categorizes items for the alien occupiers. How long do you think you would last in such a job?

4. “Selected Afterimages of the Fading,” told in second-person point of view, follows Caleb, a researcher with muscle dysmorphia working to combat the fading. Beyond yourself and your family, what would you pay the most attention to if you were a super perceiver?

Intisar’s Answers

1. I really wish the aliens had engaged Megan a little bit more on this concept, mostly because I find it rings true for me on a deeper level. I do think there’s something beautiful and ‘sacred’ in each of us, and yet as a species we wage destruction on each other and everything around us as if the end of the world can’t come fast enough for us. (Whichever end of the world we end up getting….) I nearly burst out laughing at the line, “We made error.” That sounded like a totally human apology of sorts.

2. I’m really hoping they’ll grow closer to each other. Lexi had a lot of anger and resentment bottled up, and I think that made her harder on Jeff to begin with. I didn’t really like her that much at the outset, and I love how the alternate perspectives and the events that unfolded both helped me come to appreciate her and where she was coming with. It’s unsurprising that children will grow up fast and hard in the aftermath of an apocalypse, or that they’d know the names of the bacteria to fear, or that their injuries and needs may go untreated / undiagnosed. But these children are resilient, and I think they’ll hold together with even greater love after this.

3. I don’t think I’d last very long. It sounds like a recipe for insanity to me. That said, I’d have a hard time joining the militants as well, so I’m not sure what I’d do. Given sufficient desperation, I’d probably end up a lot like Vera….

4. First off, this story was really thought-provoking for me because I’d never heard of muscle dysmorphia before. Although I usually hate reading second person point-of-view, I actually thought it worked brilliantly because the whole point was that you can’t see yourself as you are. So yay on both counts! As for what I’d pay attention to… that’s a hard call. I think I’d take long walks in the forests and natural lands, to try to preserve ecosystems. Our farms aren’t going to do too well if everything else disappears, and neither are we. That said, I’m also worrying about things most people don’t usually see, things that are usually hidden, like plumbing and electrical wiring and bats. (Yeah, I totally put bats on that list.) So, I don’t know. I’d probably be the manic super-perceiver running around staring at everything and sticking my head into cracks to preserve the things in between.

I hope you all are enjoying the read! I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts.

  • 1) My thoughts are similar to yours. I wanted a better fix on the aliens and their reasoning in this story. I do like the idea of the sacred and profane/destructive force in each of us. I just wished it had been better developed. This was a diamond left in the rough.

    2) Sibling relationships can be so entrenched in resentment. (Says the wise only child… hmmm) In this situation the resentments literally could get in the way of survival so my thought is that if they don’t change their way of relating that they are doomed. They are resilient, though. And hopefully will forge a tighter bond after Lexi’s revelation.

    3) Oh my goodness, I would go NUTS! I love words and love description but doing this all day? I’d show them the weapon of my quitting!

    4) I actually think I know someone with muscle dysmorphia after reading this. Yikes. It was a really cool reminder that we don’t perceive ourselves as others do. In some ways I find comfort in that.

    If I were a super-perceiver, I think I would want to perceive animals and plants. Perceiving people too clearly might be painful or disappointing. Enough said on that!

    • Marzie! So sorry for not replying sooner! Epic fail! 🙂

      Ha! You know, I think sibling relationships in fiction tend to be deeply entrenched in resentment or some sort of tension, because for some reason we think that makes a good story. Similarly, if you were only to read YA, you’d believe that the vast majority of parents are either missing or utterly dysfunctional. I don’t think we do ourselves any favors by having such limited approaches to representing relationships and family dynamics, but then I’m not really one to preach. (Though I’m hoping to get to the point of writing functional families!)

      Muscle dysmorphia sounds like it would be a harder disorder to identify because it really doesn’t fall into the nice little boxes we have of how body image disorders work. I actually had an eating disorder while in boarding school that went undiagnosed for a long time because I didn’t have body image problems–I just disliked dining hall food to the point that I developed chronic hunger. Once we figured that out, I was able to cook in the kitchens of my dorm faculty and eat my own (yummy) food, and go healthier again. (My poor mom, though. I still feel bad for how much worry I put her through!)

      And yay for animals and plants! And even the little bugs that do so much for us world and whom we rarely take into account. I think I’d go digging for earthworms and staring at honeybees and visiting bat caves too…

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