Discussion Questions for False Hearts (may contain spoilers!)
- How have the twins’ relationship changed since being conjoined in the cult, then separated as adults?
- Which twin did you relate to more and why?
- The twins’ love for one another is very deep. But Tila lied to Taema to protect her. What do you think about this? Would you have done the same?
- Do you feel Tila’s actions against the Ratel were justified? Why or why not?
- Who did you find a more engaging antagonist: Mana-ma or Ensi? Why
- False Hearts considers whether our behaviours are the result of nature or nurture. Mia was brought up in the Hearth, experiencing vivid hallucinations. And in San Francisco she becomes addicted to Zeal. Do you think her addiction was due to her upbringing, or could she have taken a different path?
- Would you classify San Francisco in False Hearts as a utopia or a dystopia?
- Would you take the drug Zeal? If so, what form might your dreams take
- Do you think that Zeal performs a useful function in this near-future society? Or is it a step too far?
- Would you rather have grown up in the Hearth or in San Francisco?
- The plot raises certain ethical questions about when medical intervention is justified versus when cultural beliefs should take priority. If you were the twins, how would you see your physical separation? And how would you perceive the modifications San Francisco citizens embrace to achieve beauty or ‘perfection’?
- If you could ask the author one question about False Hearts, what would it be?
Discussion Questions for Pantomime (may contain spoilers!):
- What do you think of Gene’s parents’ decision to operate on her, and do you think Gene made the right choice in leaving? What would you have done?
- How do you think Gene’s parents’ betrayal colours her interactions with other characters later in Pantomime?
- Ellada is a world that is somewhat Victorian but also has remnants of the Alder civilization, the mythology of the Chimaera, and the secrets of Penglass. What is one thing about the world that you find most interesting or that you still have questions about?
- Do you think the extracts at the start of each chapter deepen the world of Ellada and the Archipelago? What other sorts of extracts do you think would help explain more of the world?
- Do you think Micah was justified in keeping his secret from Aenea? How would you know it was “safe” to tell your secrets to someone?
- How did you feel about the “freaks” in the freak show of the circus? Do you think Bil was exploiting them?
- Can you see Bil’s point of view and reasoning for the crimes he committed to try and save R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic? Does it excuse any of his actions? Why or why not?
- Drystan knows all of the circus’ secrets, which he uses to his advantage. Is that fair? If you knew a secret that could damage someone else, would you keep it to yourself or use it like he did?
- Micah values his relationship with Cyril even after he discovers that they are not related by blood. What do you think makes a family? How do Micah and Cyril support each other?
- Micah is hazed by his fellow performers when he first joins the circus. Do you think hazing serves a purpose? Is the way he is hazed fair?
- How does Micah deal with his fluid gender identity? What would you do in his shoes?
- Who is your favorite character and why?
- The circus has many different kinds of roles and acts. If you were in the circus, which role would you want?
- Pantomime is told from the dual perspective of both Micah and Gene in alternating chapters. What did you think of this style, and did you find it effective in showing Micah before and after he joined the circus? How so?
- At the end of Pantomime, Micah has left the circus and doesn’t know where he and Drystan will go next. What did you think about how the climax unfolded, and what do you think will happen next?
- Write a letter to your favorite character. In your letter, you can respond to the situation the character is in, ask questions to the character, or give the character advice.
- Write a paragraph (or a page or an essay) on one of the discussion questions above. Make sure to use specific examples from the novel and to fully explain your reasons for your position.
- Write a paragraph (or a page or an essay) on the following: What are the main themes in the novel Pantomime? Make sure to use specific examples from the novel that show these themes.
- Create a new form of Vestige. What would it look like and what would it be used for?
- Do you think parents of intersex children have the right to select the gender of their child and have the child operated on at birth, or should such surgery be done later in life when the person can choose his or her gender? Or do you think that intersex people should not be operated on at all? Write an argument defending your position.
Discussion Questions & Assignment Prompts for Shadowplay & Masquerade:
Please contact me if you require discussion questions for these books.