Book Club


The Virus

Book Club Questions

  1. With nearly everything in life, we gain something and we lose something, even though it may be difficult to see in the moment. What would be the benefits of an RFID implant in every citizen? What would be the losses?
  2. What role does humor play in the story?
  3. What is the effect of the author’s use of first person narrative? Does it make the story more or less immediate or credible?
  4. How do you define civil disobedience?
  5. Have you ever committed an act of civil disobedience? What did you do? Why did you do it? If you haven’t, what would be the impetus for committing an act of civil disobedience? What would you be willing to do?
  6. What would society be like if no one ever committed an act of civil disobedience?
  7. If the government required everyone to get an RFID implant, what would you do? Why? What would you choose for your children?
  8. In Chapter 28, Maggie reminds the project lead, Michael de Leon, of the old cliche of the frog that boils alive because it doesn’t know when to leap out of the water that’s getting hotter and hotter. Given that all the technology in the book currently exists, think about where our society is today on a scale of one to ten. One represents room temperature water, in other words, total freedom without government control. Ten is boiling water, in other words, total control by the government. What number are we today as a society? Why do you believe this?
  9. In Chapter 40, Anna compares the definition of freedom that the Soviets had until communism fell and the American definition of freedom—corporate versus individual. What do we gain with our view of individual freedom? What do we lose? What would you give up to have more corporate freedom? What would you give up to have more individual freedom?
  10. The story makes numerous references to breadcrumb trails. What are the breadcrumb trails you leave every day if someone wanted to find you?
  11. The story references back doors at various points, both literal and metaphorical. What are your back doors in case you’d ever need one?
  12. Over the course of the story, Maggie gives up her computer because of the tracking software, her clothes because of the possibility of RFIDs, and finally cuts her hair—part of her identity—so as not to be spotted. Ultimately, she leaves her home, community, and country, maybe forever. What would you give up if you had to?
  13. How have your thoughts about government control and freedom been impacted by reading The Virus? Do you view the world any differently after having read this book?

Additional Reading to add to the discussion:
According to Wikipedia, The National Security Agency (NSA) “reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk, and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.” Some additional articles to read include these from The Washington Post and The New York Times.

We’ve had news reports for years about what the government has been doing. Yet it took the jolt of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the frightening invasiveness of the NSA to bring it to the forefront of the national conversation at least for awhile. This Vanity Fair report gives an insightful in-depth perspective.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology as described in the book is very real.

Interested in staying under the radar? Ixquick and Duckduckgo are two of the most recognized Internet search engines that provide a level of protection.

Never Enough Flamingos

Watch for the release in late 2016. In the meantime, if you’re curious about Mennonites, Third Way Café is a great first stop to learn more. The site includes blogs, conversations, reading suggestions, photos, and loads of FAQs.

Pack-n-Go Girls®

The Pack-n-Go Girls® website is loaded with teaching resources to use with each of the books. You can also find teaching materials on Teacherspayteachers.

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