Tuesday, 29 October 2013

New #edcmchat book discussion - Saturday 2nd November

This Saturday we will be discussing Alastair Reynolds' story, "The Great Wall of Mars". Have you read any of his books before? What could we expect? And how does it relate to the themes of eLearning, digital cultures, and imagining dystopias or utopias which we have discussed in other books in the #edcmchat series. There is a PDF copy of the story here: http://library.worldtracker.org/English%20Literature/R/Reynolds,%20Alastair/Alastair%20Reynolds%20-%20Great%20Wall%20Of%20Mars.pdf You can join the edcmchat group on GoodReads here, or follow us on Twitter at #edcmchat

So, we ended up having another lively Tweet chat on Saturday. Some key themes from the story for me were the blurring of the lines between nature and technology, and in turn between emotion and reason in people. There were still people fighting and at war, there was still sibling rivalry and social factions, and there were still creatures out to kill us. The wall of the title was an interesting concept and we wondered whether it was there to keep people in our out, or to divide people? Or was it a symbol of a division that no longer applied? "The Great Wall of Mars" makes you think of something vast and impenetrable, but it was a decaying, crumbling, living object that needed humans to make it survive - perhaps an analogy then for our own earth? Here are some of the q's we discussed:

Q1:Thinking of the story's title, what does the wall represent? Is it civilisation,or Earth itself? Nature/environemnt? #edcmchat

Q2:"You’re placing too much humanity behind her eyes".What did Felka represent to you? Was she stronger or weaker than the others?#edcmchat

Q3:What about the idea of Transenlightenment in the story? Has the hive mind/post human improved humanity? #edcmchat

Q4:"She looked deep into his eyes & reached out a hand. But there was nothing he could do to help her" Is the story all dystopian?#edcmchat

Q5 "the walls oozed beguiling patterns as if a dark forest had suddenly become enchanted" Is there a spiritual side to the story? #edcmchat 

At the end, Anne Robertson @robeanne kindly collected them into a Storify page which you can find here


  1. Looking forward to chatting about the book on Saturday! I'm about half-way done and enjoying the story.

    1. Great stuff. Thanks Rick. I am starting it tonight (last minute again!), so will hope to get some possible discussion themes and questions up on the GoodReads page tomorrow.