Discussion Guide for FEROCIOUS

Are you reading FEROCIOUS with a class, book club, or as part of an online read-along? Here are some questions you might want to think about.

Pre-reading questions:

1. Vicarious and Ferocious take place in a world where futuristic technology makes it possible for people to record their sensory experiences and share them with others. If ViSE recordings were real, would you want to play them? Why or why not?

2. Do you think it should be illegal to experience illegal things (breaking into buildings, jumping from bridges, running from the cops, using drugs, etc.) via a ViSE recording? Why or why not?

3. Family is very important to Winter. In Vicarious, when she finds out her sister is dead and Gideon lied about it, she immediately feels like she’s lost two family members. What are the “unforgiveable sins” to you, the things you couldn’t get past?

4. Have you ever traveled to another country? If so, what are some of the cultural or communication difficulties you encountered while you were there? If not, name two things you think would be hard about traveling abroad.

5. How do you determine whether you can trust someone? If someone betrays your trust, what would they have to do to win it back?

Questions while reading:

6. In Los Angeles, what is Winter’s plan to save her brother and kill Kyung? How does she allow herself to be tricked?

7. Why do you think Winter isn’t hallucinating Rose anymore?

8. List three possible reasons why Winter and Jesse don’t go to the police after she is attacked in Koreatown.

9. Why do you think Sebastian “Baz” Faber offers to help Winter when she goes to Seoul?

10. Baz tells Winter that “the best defense is a good offense.” This is the reverse of the more common phrase. What is he talking about in the novel? Can you think of another example when the best defense might be a good offense?

11. Winter says she is blinded by hate and needs to kill Kyung before it will go away, before she can feel human again. What are some of the dangers with being this obsessed by revenge?

12. List three reasons why Winter doesn’t think she should become romantically involved with Jesse during the first three quarters of the story. Why do you think she later changes her mind?

13. Baz tells Winter that “Monsters don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether they’re monsters.” What does he mean by this? Do you agree with him?

14. When Winter and Jesse go to Namsan Tower, Jesse sees the love locks and tells Winter he never really understood the tradition—that the locks imply some sort of unconditional permanence and to him love is something that you have to nurture and care for if you want it to last. How do you feel about love? Should it be unconditional once it’s declared, or is it something that will take constant effort to maintain? Do you feel differently about different types of love?

15. What is Kyung planning to do with the ViSE technology? Who is interested in buying it?

Post-reading questions:

16. How many alters does Winter have? What are their names? What do you think is the main “function” of each one? [In DID, alters often develop to deal with situations or emotions that the host is unable to handle, though there is likely overlap in their functions.]

17. People with DID often have moments where an alter takes over just for a minute or even a few seconds, so short they might not even realize it. Now that you know about all of Winter’s alters, can you think of a moment earlier in the story, or back in Vicarious, when Winter might have been acting as one of the minor alters?

18. Winter’s condition is both rare and serious, but many of her fears stem from the idea that she won’t be able to control her darker impulses. One of the taglines for the book is “Everyone has a dark side.” We don’t all have alter personas, but most of us are subject to moments of extreme rage and/or despair. How do you maintain control of yourself when you’re experiencing dark emotions?

19. Winter sells Gideon’s research to a medical school, but decides to destroy the neural editor because she thinks that altering the way people perceive reality is dangerous. Do you agree with her decision? Why or why not?

20. What do you think will happen after the end of the story? Can Winter find peace and happiness after all she has been through? Give evidence from the story to explain why you feel the way you do.