Book Clubs

Use the questions below to help along club discussions


We can set up a meeting so I can talk to your club about The Darkest Side of Saturn, navigating spacecraft to the planets, flying air combat as in Counters, or how I write: the difficulties and foibles I have to overcome, and how you might avoid them. Pertaining to this last thought, one of my favorite quotes, applied to myself, is:

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.
– Despair, Inc., de-motivational poster on Mistakes.

Contact me via the form below, and we’ll set something up—in person, if not too far away, otherwise by Skype … or, I’m always willing to go the all-expense-paid-trip route to the nearest luxury hotel that your ample budget can support. (If only!)

Meanwhile, here’s a list of discussion questions for my last novel. (Click here for a downloadable PDF) Questions for Counters will follow as soon as I generate them.

The Darkest Side of Saturn: Discussion Questions

  1. DSOS Front CoverWould one-in-a-thousand odds of a large asteroid strike worry you? If not, what would, and why? What would (or could) you do?
  2. Is Harris justified in how he announces the asteroid to the world? Is Diana’s reaction justified, or is there a subtext?
  3. Is the violent sex scene in Chapter 45, “Dance of Duality” sufficiently motivated? Is it offensive?
  4. Three different versions of Harris experience three epiphanies in Chapter 9, “Religious Experience.” Which is most important and resonates most deeply with the rest of the story? Do any of these express the dominant theme? What is the dominant theme?
  5. Are there parallels between Harris Mitchel and Jesus Christ? Did the author intend this?
  6. Is Harris’s wife justified in her anger? What could he have done to mollify her and what consequences would have followed?
  7. There are references to the Author in three places. Is this the narrator? Is the “I” at the end of the epilogue the Author? Or God?
  8. Do you see any parallels between Chapter 57, “Visions”, and a book of the Bible?
  9. What’s the meaning of the “Eymber eymber, burning bright” knock-off of Blake’s poem “Tyger Tyger, Burning Bright” at the end of Chapter 67, “In the Ending”?
  10. There is some detail about the asteroid location at various times in the book. Do you think these correspond to a realistic orbit? If you were a rocket scientist or astronomer, would you be able to compute the orbit from the given descriptions?
  11. Is James Conland cynical and self-serving in his writing of “The Book of Saint James”, or has he truly “seen the light”?
  12. Do you see any parallels between the many competing voices of Chapter 65, “Last Words,” and an operatic finale?
  13. Have you ever had the kind of soul-shaking epiphany that Harris has when he’s a ten-year-old boy? Did it affect your life?
  14. Who is the most evil: Ernest Farnsworth or Dick Fowler? Or James Conland?
  15. Are the time shifts—present to past to future—confusing, or do they add appeal to the story? Are they necessary? Are the Prologue and Epilogue necessary?
  16. What major themes do you find in the story? Symbols?
  17. What passages strike you as insightful or profound? Which best summarize the story?
  18. To which movie actors would you assign the principal roles? The narrator?
  19. Have you learned anything enduring from this novel? Has it changed you or given new perspective on life, reality, consciousness, or beliefs?
  20. Have you a Darkest Side?

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