Discussion Questions

1. In Chapters 2 – 3, why does Sammy ask Uncle Walter to teach her how to bend time backward and forward?

2. In Chapters 2 – 3, what does the melting ice that makes up the Techno Geek Café represent?

3. In Chapter 4, why do you think Larry Quack experiments with growing human organs in his lab? Natural curiosity? Contribution to science? Greed? Discuss.

4. In Chapter 7, during the interview scene in the City of @ at the Cordial Interview Office, what do you think is coming out of the meat grinder? Why do you think Grady Scotpress is trying to extract Sammy’s thoughts and secrets?

5. What does the virtual City of @ symbolize in Sammy’s journey to find Rhubarb Pie? 

6. Why do the main characters in the book, including Sammy, Mr. Greenbold, Larry Quack, and Cleopatra, become gradually invisible as time passes?

7. What does Wall Street, the financial district in Manhattan, represent in the book?

8. In Chapter 10, how do President Moses J. Maycott’s ideals threaten democracy?

9. What do you think about the idea of controlling people’s minds using virtual technology rather than imprisoning them with walls?

10. In Chapter 10, a cloud of dust looms over Larry Quack’s office, foreshadowing what?

11. In Chapter 11, what historical event does the chaos and destruction allude to?

12. In Chapter 13, at the Chef Cooking School in the City of @, what do the sandwich layers symbolize?

13. In Chapter 20, what was symbolic about Sammy hovering above the buildings of Manhattan after she had taken the Body-Mail pills in the Message Hub Building? 

14. Why was Larry Quack against Sammy’s pursuit to find her missing father?  

15. In Chapter 22, why did Roy urge Sammy to adopt a new brain when they took a stroll in the Garden of Eden at the Logic Layer Fort?

16. Why does Larry Quack despise the virtual City of @, and what qualms does he have against Mr. Greenbold’s establishment?

17. In Chapter 26 – 27, what provoked the fight of the century that took place in the Special Field in the City of @? Was it a growing rivalry between Larry Quack and Mr. Greenbold? Or perhaps a clash between polarized ideologies? Discuss.

18. Did Sammy ever find her father, Rhubarb Pie? What happened to him?

19. Prior to the end of the book, did you believe that the City of @ was a real place or just a figment of Sammy’s imagination?

20. How would you define the difference between what’s real and what’s virtual?

21. Discuss the pros and cons of using a virtual world as an escape.

22. If you had the power to manipulate time and fate, would do it? What would you change? How might things be different?

23. Chapter 6, 7, and 8. Sammy learns what it means to lose her freedom when she is trapped in the City of @. What does freedom mean to you, and why is it important?

24. Sammy runs into many obstacles throughout the book that could cause her to give up, but instead of losing hope, she looks for opportunities within her predicaments. With faith and persistence, do you believe all obstacles can be overcome?

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