Reading Guide for

Plenum: The First Book of Deo

By Geoffreyjen Edwards

“A poetic and wondrous SF tale that grapples with gender and faith.” – Kirkus Reviews Learn more

Don’t have a book club? Each {IC} links to a dedicated Infinite Conversations topic.

  1. How is gender dealt with in this book? Does this correspond to our contemporary understanding of gender? How does it differ, if it differs? {IC}
  2. The novel makes a link between sexuality and spirituality. Do you agree with this link? Tell us about why or why not? {IC}
  3. The novel reports on a series of visions. What do you make of these? How do you think they serve the story? {IC}
  4. The novel starts with some issues of bullying. Do you agree with the way this is settled, or do you think the treatment of Dev is naive or over-simplified? {IC}
  5. The novel gives a prominent role to intelligent animals. What do you think the author is trying to say in the treatment of these within the novel? What is implied about the role played by these creatures within the larger society, the Humanitat? {IC}
  6. The novel presents several different religious communities, some more open than others and none of them exactly like our contemporary religions. What do you think about a science fiction book dealing with the far future that gives a prominent role to religions? What do you think about the different religions presented? Do you like any of them, or distrust them all? Why? {IC}
  7. The protagonist appears to reject hir faith at the end of the book. In your opinion, is this rejection likely to stick? How important does faith appear to be for the protagonist? {IC}
  8. Is the treatment of faith within the novel realistic, in your opinion? How so, or how is it not? {IC}
  9. The novel also presents a whole collection of technologies which are part of the everyday experience of the characters. Compared to today, many of these are radically enabling, or radically disabling in some cases. Name two enabling technologies in the book, and two technologies which are problematic in your opinion. Why are they problematic? And how does the presence of both types of technology affect the story? {IC}
  10. The relationship between Vanu and Shosee passes through several stages. Can you name these? How important are these changes to the story? {IC}
  11. In your opinion, is Joh’s ultimate act an attempt at suicide or something else entirely? What do you make of the ambiguity of the novel in this regard? What do you think the intentions of the author were in writing the events in this way? {IC}
  12. The novel also focuses attention on the youth culture, with both its positive and negative aspects. Identify elements of both types. How do these things play out in the novel as a whole? How do the youths interact with their elders? Are the latter accepting of the youths, or rather more dismissive? How does that compare to your own experience, either as youths or as elders? {IC}
  13. Did you find the novel as a whole uplifting or depressing? Why and how? What was your ultimate takeaway from the novel? {IC}