1. There are several potential histories of Adam’s epiphany machine featured throughout the novel. Which story rang most true to you? Do you have your own alternate origin story in mind?
2. Venter Lowood is accused of “playing up” to his tattoo. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? Why or why not?
3. Rebecca Hart Lowood never uses the machine. If she did, would her tattoo say “OFFSPRING WILL NOT LEAD HAPPY LIVES?”
4. Do the epiphanies come from Adam or the machine? Is it all a con? And would a con make patrons’ revelations any less true?
5. How much responsibility does Adam have for protecting the privacy of his “guests”? What about protecting civilians from potential threats? How do you decide between safety and privacy in your everyday life?
6. How much of the conflict in this book is inherited? How are different characters affected by the legacy of their parents?
7. What do you think of Rose Lowood at the end of the novel? What would have happened if she hadn’t left Venter as a boy?
8. Do the characters grow and change over time or are their personalities and their flaws fixed?
9. Do you believe more in Adam’s machine or in Vladimir Harrican’s modern reinvention? Is the new version of the machine more or less honest? Which would you be more willing to use?
10. If the epiphany machine were real, would you want to use it? Why or why not? What would your tattoo say?