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Bewildering Stories

Special Challenge 310

Observation Observed

As a parting salute to Michael E. Lloyd’s Observation Three, we have a nice review:

  1. What do the Domans look like? Why might the details not seem to be of any lasting importance?

  2. Much of Earth history can be summed up as: “Beware of empire-builders; they come to take your land.” Why are the Domans not like that? What is their real agenda?

  3. What more could the Domans have done to further their goals on Earth? What moral considerations entered into judging how far to go?

  4. Why might those “in the know” on Earth feel sorry that there will be no future collaboration with Dome? Why might they feel relief?

  5. The Domans are keen to fulfil all their promises and tidy up all loose ends. What do they say that might indicate why they are so scrupulous?

  6. What is the irony in the endings of Chapters 33 and 35?

  7. Dome faces serious environmental problems. But how do its inter-regional political differences compare in degree and impact with those of Earth?

  8. Whom would you prefer as a great-uncle: Don Giuseppe, Raymond, Jean-Christophe, “Norm” or Lawrence? And as a great-aunt: Hilde, Jennifer, Janis Ian, Quo or the Captain? And which of them as your national Head of State?

  9. How might Carla’s feelings for Toni play out in a sequel where Carla brings a new viewpoint back to Dome?

  10. What second career options might Quo consider when she finally retires?

  11. The title lines of the final four chapters form an acrostic. What advice does it seem to give in light of Quo’s Truth Delta Analysis? What makes human politics more complex than the Domans’?

  12. So, all’s well that ends well. Or is it? The Captain certainly has her reservations. How do you feel about this “first contact” story?

  13. You are a librarian and have received a copy of the full Observation trilogy. Do you shelve it under:
    • Speculative Fiction?
    • Satire?
    • Adventure?
    • Farce?
    • Romance?
  14. The text of the complete Observation trilogy gives many nods, both explicitly and between the lines, to the great art, architecture, music and literature of many centuries. Which particular work is re-echoed, for the last time, in Maelene’s bus-tour recipe for preserving civilisation and Toni’s closing remark that raising vegetables might be fun?

Responses welcome!

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