Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Discuss the pros and cons of having a body. Can you relate to the times when Gerald enjoys having a separate consciousness? Have you ever felt disconnected from your own body?
2. The novel is written entirely in Slack messages. How did this unique format affect your reading experience? Have your read other untraditional works (epistolary novels, novels written in text messages or emails, etc.)? If so, how did this experience compare?
3. Despite none of the novel taking place in the physical world, there are reoccurring themes that point to sensory details including light, darkness, and dust. Discuss how these motifs allow you to “see” the environment through Slack messages and how experiencing something like a sunset through a screen differs from experiencing it in the physical world.
4. How does Slackbot evolve throughout the novel? Do you see Slackbot as a villain?
5. What do you think was happening to Lydia? Why is Rob the last person who remembers her?
6. Discuss the progression of Gerald and Pradeep’s relationship. Did you predict that they would become a couple?
7. How do the characters in the novel perform differently in the different Slack channels, particularly in the #gents-only channel? Do you think they would have the same conversations face-to-face?
8. Emojis and gifs play a big part in the characters’ conversations. Discuss the meanings of the various emojis and how they shift as the book goes on. What does our preference to speak through images instead of words say about society and our ability to communicate?
9. Throughout the novel, the characters are reminded that none of their Slack messages are actually private. Do you expect your messages and internet use will be monitored at work? How does working remotely impact those expectations/boundaries? How would you feel if someone else read all your DMs?
10. Discuss your own experiences working from home. Do you prefer working remotely or being in the office? Why?