Downloadable Questions (listed below): Devouring a Book, Book Club Questions
- Did the cover and back-cover text deliver on the promise they presented?
- Do you think the book was plot-based or character-based?
- Did the settings add relevance, interest, or believability to the story?
- How did the characters change, if at all, over the course of the story? (For example: Ruby, Clay, Ox, Em, President Newton, Vladimir Volkov, Dr. Lin, or Insley.)
- Which character did you relate to the most, and what about her/him did you connect with?
- What was your favorite quote or passage, and why?
Entrées (meatier, book-specific questions):
- How did you react to Ruby and Clay’s marriage and their non-stereotypical roles in their partnership?
- Did you perceive President Ava Newton to be strong and good-intentioned (trying to save the United States from the ELI) or sexist and corrupt (serving her own interests)? Or was she a combination of all?
- Did you have any empathy for Ox? Do you believe that untreated PTSD can turn military heroes into potential monsters? And what can citizens do, if anything, to help advocate for the treatment of PTSD in our military?
- Was it believable that two twenty-something Marines like Insley and Wyatt could be manipulated to follow Ox, given the apocalyptic threat? How did Ox snare their loyalties?
- Ruby believes that civic engagement is the way to ensure the planet’s wellbeing. What are other ways?
- How did you feel about the ending? What did you like, or not like? And do you wish anything had happened differently?
- Did the book change your opinion or perspective about anything? Do you feel differently than you did before you read THE ONE AND ONLY?
- If you were responsible for casting a movie of this book, who would play the main characters (Ruby, Clay, Ox, Em, President Newton, Vladimir Volkov, Dr. Lin)? Any thoughts on supporting characters (Insley, Wyatt, Frank Davis, Patti Davis, Ambassador Jeffries, and Eyes)?
- What questions are you hoping the sequel will answer? Below are some possible “wonderings.”
- Why is Ruby’s blood so unique? Who was the donor?
- Did Ruby’s daughter Gabby inherit any of the properties exhibited in her mother’s blood?
- Will Ruby and Clay’s relationship be affected by Ruby’s new reality?
- What will become of Ava Newton, Emory Bradshaw, and Vladimir Volkov?
Second Helpings (with hefty sides of serious):
**Use as silent think-abouts or add them to no-judgment-zone discussions!**
(Page 32) Clay questions why he encouraged his wife to go to Taiwan in the first place. Ruby answers….
“Because you understand there are two ways to protect Gabby. One is to avoid the world by being a shut-in; I’ve mastered that strategy lately. The other is to aggressively pursue the problem. Find the root cause and then annihilate it. I mean, how long will our home be safe if the crisis globally persists and multiplies? Hiding is no protection. Safety requires action.”
- If you were facing a global crisis, what would be your first instinct, in terms of your level of involvement? Would you hunker down or get involved? What factors would influence your decision?
(Page 299) Em explains his actions to Ruby. He tells her…
“…the world is about to crash-and-burn, and you [Ruby] want to pull the plug on our project for three lives—three nobodies—who might die during testing? Yet you’d gladly watch the whole of humankind perish? Such a hypocrite!”
- If the world was facing an Extinction Level Infection…and a possible cure or biological defense required human testing, would you consider sacrificing a few individuals (like death-row prisoners, for example) to save all of humankind?
(Page 15) Ruby and Clay are discussing the former Chinese President’s release of the bioweapon F8, wondering if Huo knew the bacteria would mutate into ZOM-B. Ruby says…
“…when you play God, there’s always a price to pay.”
- Ruby and Clay are opposed to what they call “dark science” (such as bioengineering, bioweaponry, and cloning). Like everything, scientific advancements in this area can be used for good (organ transplants) and for nefarious purposes (like in the book), making decisions to regulate “dark science” challenging. What are your thoughts on the subject?
(Page 24) Clay is remembering the horrors of nanorobotic terror. He thinks…
“The sudden lack of telecommunications reminded him of Huo’s reign of terror, after the lunatic had commandeered the airwaves, releasing high-pitched frequencies to activate the brain-implanted nanobots—the REDs—in unsuspecting victims.”
- The U.S. has issued a health alert (in June 2018) warning Americans traveling to China to seek medical evaluations should they experience unexplained symptoms, after U.S. diplomats (the number affected not yet verified) experienced medical incidents from high-frequency auditory attacks (similar to what U.S. diplomats experienced in Havana, Cuba, in 2016). (Source: U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China, https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/ha-05232018) Fiction often precedes reality. Could the fantastical world of THE ONE AND ONLY ever come to pass? What aspects of Ruby’s apocalyptic world are believable? Are there any ways to help prevent their occurrence?
(Page 328) Ruby delivers a warning to the Special Warfare Council. She says…
“You can’t prevent the loss of humanity by stripping people of their humanity! Fighting fire-with-fire only builds an inferno, where everyone becomes a monster! No, we’ll have to find a different way to defeat zombiism. We have to prevail with a conscience—it’s what makes us human.”
- Can you think of any times in history where horrific actions were taken against “the enemy,” in the name of “saving” humanity from evil? And did the action ultimately eliminate evil?
Thank you for taking the time to discuss THE ONE AND ONLY! Please consider leaving a star rating (with or without a brief written review) on:
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