[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
ROBERT J. SAWYER
Hugo and Nebula Winner


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Reading Group Guide

QUANTUM NIGHT

by Robert J. Sawyer

Many reading groups and book clubs have enjoyed novels by Robert J. Sawyer. The following questions may help stimulate an interesting discussion about Quantum Night. (These questions might also suggest essay topics for students studying the book.)


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SPOILER ALERT! These questions reveal much of the novel's plot. To preserve your reading pleasure, please DO NOT LOOK at these questions until AFTER you've finished reading the book.


  1. If you had a foolproof device to spot psychopaths, would you use it? What if it identified your spouse or your child as a psychopath?

  2. Did you know, before reading this novel, that there's a synchrotron in Saskatoon or a Human Rights museum in Winnipeg? How important is it to you that the details are accurate?

  3. Did you start sorting your own friends and relatives into Q1, Q2, and Q3 categories? Which category do you belong in?

  4. Should Victoria have dumped her boyfriend just because he was a Q1? They got along. He had a good, steady job. Did she do the right thing, especially given that there are four times as many Q1s as Q3s?

  5. At various points in the novel, characters lie to Jim (and by extension, to the reader). Menno seems to lie at every turn. Is this unfair? What about Kayla keeping secrets from Jim? Is not saying anything more acceptable than lying?

  6. Have you ever discovered that your memory of an event in your past was not accurate? Can you remember where you left your keys?

  7. When you discover that Jim's sister Heather and Kayla's daughter Ryan are Q1s, do you care about them more, less, or the same as you did before you knew?

  8. If you had to evaluate Jim Marchuk on RateMyProfessors.com, how would you score his teaching style in their three categories: helpfulness, clarity, and easiness (of marking)? Finally, how would you rate his "hotness" (their fourth category)?

  9. Did you enjoy Jim's lectures? What did you think of Utilitarianism? It's Jim's personal philosophy, could it be yours?

  10. Both Menno Warkentin and Dominic Adler were happy to jump into bed with the US Department of Defense (and work for a foreign power) in exchange for piles of research money. When universities receive funds from outside sources, to whom do they owe their allegiance?

  11. When Jim Marchuk encountered the psychopath and his Q1 minion on the deserted road, both the Q3/Jim and the Q2/psychopath ran away from the fight, but the Q1/p-zed would not stop. If we could identify them, should we only send mindless Q1/p-zeds off to fight in wars? They make the best soldiers, but is it a good idea?

  12. How did you feel when US troops crossed the border and the tanks rolled into Ottawa? In the future, is a united North America inevitable? Do you think it will be a negotiated arrangement like the European Union or a military action as in this novel?

  13. Do you think that Vladimir Putin and other real-world leaders are psychopaths? We can see that despots and military dictators are Q2s. But why, in democracies, do we elect them?

  14. Is Jim Marchuk criminally responsible for murdering Dominic Adler and maiming Menno Warkentin? How is Jim any less guilty than Devin Becker, the Savannah Prison guard sentenced to death at the beginning of the novel?


More Good Reading

Download this Reading Group Guide in Adobe Acrobat Format
More about Quantum Night

Reading Group Guide Index
Reading Group Guide for Triggers
Reading Group Guide for Wake
Reading Group Guide for Rollback
Reading Group Guide for Mindscan
Reading Group Guide for Hominids
Reading Group Guide for Calculating God
Reading Group Guide for FlashForward
Reading Group Guide for Factoring Humanity
Reading Group Guide for Frameshift
Reading Group Guide for Illegal Alien
Reading Group Guide for The Terminal Experiment
Reading Group Guide for End of an Era
Reading Group Guide for Golden Fleece


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