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EarthCore Reading & Weekly Discussion

  • Avatar of Gmork

    Junkies – The idea came up to read through one of the FDO’s works and have a weekly discussion about what we’ve read. There was enough interest so we’ll be starting with EARTHCORE.

    The book is no longer in print, so you’ll either need to find yourself a copy or grab the free audiobook version through Podiobooks.com at this link or through iTunes at this link. Read below and we’ll discuss when we’ll start and how we’ll coordinate between the book and audio versions.

    Come join us on this adventure!

    Avatar of Gmork
    Since some of you started reading already, we’re going to jump right in! Here’s the schedule of chapters / pages / kindle locations to read through and what day we’ll discuss it on. If you’re listening to the free podcast, the chapters are broken up slightly differently, but the chapter titles are read throughout the audio so it should be easy to follow the chapter outline below.

    Each Tuesday I’ll post a bunch of questions regarding the chapters we read, just to get the discussion started, but really all discussions about the book are fair game.

    And off we go!


    Chapter Print Page # Kindle Location (Bella’s) Discussion Day
    Prologue-4 1 – 29 34 – 479 19-Jun
    5 – 9 30 – 72 479 – 1322 26-Jun
    10 – 13 73 – 99 1322 – 1840 3-Jul
    14 – 16 100 – 118 1840 – 2222 10-Jul
    17 – 20 119 – 146 2222 – 2778 17-Jul
    21 – 24 147 – 176 2778 – 3369 24-Jul
    25 – 29 177 – 207 3369 – 4245 31-Jul
    30 – 31 208 – 227 4245 – 4399 7-Aug
    32 – 36 228 – 249 4399 – 4792 14-Aug
    37 – 40 250 – 269 4792 – 5160 21-Aug
    41 – 44 270 – 285 5160 – 5444 28-Aug
    45 – Epilogue 286 – 319 5444 – 6164 4-Sep
    Avatar of Shadygirl

    I’m in. I have a copy and can start any time!

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    WØØT! I’m ready to go!!

    Also, I found a PDF version of EarthCore on my external HD that must have been distributed at some point way back when. So if anyone needs a print version, you can e-mail me at Belladonna420@gmail.com for a copy. :)
    Avatar of Danny Lundy

    I know that richno3 and Kali won’t get their copies till after the 25th.

    Avatar of Gmork

    Ahh so maybe we should wait a wee bit for those who don’t have their books yet.

    And Bella, shoot a soft copy of that over to me. While I have a print version, it would be much more convenient to have it on my Kindle. Let me know if you need my email.
    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Okie dokie!

    Avatar of Shadygirl

    Me to please. I’d like to just leave my copy on the bookshelf. ;-)

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Excellent idea! If anyone else wants an electronic version so they don’t have to touch their precious treeware copy, just let me know. I’ll be happy to send it to anyone that asks. :)

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    Yes, that’s true. So if you people start that book before then, I will be forced to spam this thread.

    Avatar of Belladonna420
    Other options have been made available to you, Spammy McSpammer!!!

    *mumbles under breath* Making spam threats… the nerve of some people….
    Avatar of Danny Lundy

    Spam or double post which will it be????

    Avatar of Rich Bennett

    Bells if you have a copy of earthcore that will go onto a Kindle, shoot that puppy this way. Want to get started on Earthcore. I just love that story

    Avatar of Rich Bennett

    I cant believe it will take another 2 1/2 weeks till we see our copies of Earthcore.

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    You got it! :)

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    UGG. These BOOTS were made for walking.

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    I don’t double post.

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    I do not double post.

    Avatar of Danny Lundy

    So because you didn’tused a contraction its okay?

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Kali thinks she’s special and that the rules don’t apply to her! :-p

    Avatar of Richard Read

    Hey kids & kats, I’d love to join in on this – Bella could you mail me the PDF richardjread@gmail.com

    Cheers! :)

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    You haz mail!

    Avatar of Danny Lundy

    She is special and we will just leave it at that. :-D

    Avatar of JB

    Got my copy of Earthcore. Thanks Bella!

    60 pages left in contagious and then starting Earthcore. Can’t wait to discuss it with everyone here. My wife looks at me strangely when I am talking about these books. I need to discuss with those who get it.

    Avatar of GJ

    Am I too late to join in?

    Avatar of Shadygirl

    Not at all! We haven’t started reading yet and even if we had you could catch up. ;-)

    Avatar of Gmork

    This is totally my problem as well. My hubbie doesn’t read the books so this is my outlet for seeing what other perspectives people have on Sigler’s books. So excited to have you all along for the ride!

    Avatar of GJ

    Well I’m all good to go thanks to @Bella. It means I don’t have to unwrap the actual book :)

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    I GOT MY EARTHCORE!! Now you can officially start.

    Avatar of Paul DeWig

    IM DOWN I HAVE TWO COPIES

    Avatar of Rich Bennett

    Grrr…and mine is being shipped to work. Damn it is probably there, and I cant get to it

    Avatar of Shadygirl

    Okay Gmork. You started this idea. When are we going to start this thing?

    Avatar of Gmork

    Woah! Ok, glad just about everyone got their books. Let me take a quick look at how the chapters break down and then I can list out where the breaks will be. Any preference for what day of the week we want to start a discussion after reading the assigned chapters? Mondays? Wednesdays? I’m open to suggestions.

    Avatar of GJ

    Let’s do EET!

    Avatar of David Humfleet

    Almost thru Nocturnal so if you could please send me the Earthcore file it would be fun to discuss with others. dbhumfleet@gmail.com. Thanks in advance

    Lefty Muldoon

    Avatar of Shadygirl

    I pretty open, so whatever works for others I can work with.

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    I’ve been readin EARTHCORE for 2 days and I’m almost done with the “thanks” page. :-D

    Avatar of Morgan LeSergent

    I’m doing the audiobook; so just tell us what chapters to do and I’ll be happy to do it.

    Avatar of Richard Read

    I’m locked and loaded – ready when you are :)

    Avatar of Larry Baker

    Bells

    Can I also get a copy of Earthcore . I would love to crack open Earthcore again. Maybe it will help the wait for Mt. Fitz.
    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Shoot me an email at belladonna420@gmail.com. :)

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Tuesdays or Thursdays would be best for me, but I could pretty much make any days except Mondays work.

    Avatar of Rich Bennett

    any week day works for me. Got my book and ready to go.

    Avatar of Gmork

    Ok it on!

    For some reason, I couldn’t edit the original post so I edited my first comment. So now it shows the schedule three times on the first page….lol. Well it’s not perfect but at least it’s clear!

    Now GET TO READING, JUNKIES!
    Avatar of ExotiKali

    What happens if we fall behind, Gmorky? Are you going to spank us? ;-)

    Avatar of Gmork

    I’ve got my Spanky Spoon at the ready for anyone that falls behind!!!

    Avatar of BigJohn

    I would like to play! I think I will be listening to the audio though. I’ll start very soon, but I think I’ll be able to get through the first section by the 29th. Yay!

    Avatar of JB

    So June 19th is the correct first discussion date? WOOHOO! Can’t wait.

    Avatar of Richard Read

    I have to say this has taken on more importance than I originally thought.

    I was laid off from my job on Monday without any warning – this is the 2nd job i’ve been laid off from in 18 mths through no fault of my own and it’s starting to piss me off.

    Something like this to help take my mind of it all will be great!

    Avatar of BigJohn

    Dang. I hope you have the quick turnaround that I did in getting another job. Best of luck to you, buddy. In the meantime, let the smooth dulcid tones of Kayla Meyers soothe you.

    Avatar of Rich Bennett

    Good luck brother. Junkie goodwill your way.

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Let’s see if we can make this a little easier…

    Chapter Print Page # Kindle Location (Bella’s) Discussion Day
    Prologue-4 1 – 29 34 – 479 19-Jun
    5 – 9 30 – 72 479 – 1322 26-Jun
    10 – 13 73 – 99 1322 – 1840 3-Jul
    14 – 16 100 – 118 1840 – 2222 10-Jul
    17 – 20 119 – 146 2222 – 2778 17-Jul
    21 – 24 147 – 176 2778 – 3369 24-Jul
    25 – 29 177 – 207 3369 – 4245 31-Jul
    30 – 31 208 – 227 4245 – 4399 7-Aug
    32 – 36 228 – 249 4399 – 4792 14-Aug
    37 – 40 250 – 269 4792 – 5160 21-Aug
    41 – 44 270 – 285 5160 – 5444 28-Aug
    45 – Epilogue 286 – 319 5444 – 6164 4-Sep

    Well, what do you know? It worked!! :)

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    You mean the 19th, right??

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    So sorry to hear that!! :( I hope you find something else soon.

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    Sorry to hear dude. Hope you find a new job soon.

    Avatar of Shadygirl

    Sorry to hear that. I hope you find something soon.

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Some whatthefuckery is going on with the forums….. The link to this page has been changed from:

    /forums/earthcore/topics/earthcore-reading-weekly-discussion
    to
    /forums/earthcore-forum/topics/earthcore-reading-weekly-discussion
    Avatar of ExotiKali

    FUCKING WITCHES!!

    Avatar of ExotiKali

    Or Kayla Meyers is messin’ with us.

    Avatar of BigJohn

    Yes, sorry. I meant the 19th. Today. Where is the talkage? (“29″ was the page to read through – my badness)

    In honor of the first day of Earthcore talk, I will now put some of the characters in height order:
    Connell Kirkland (6’4″)
    Sonny McGuinness (taller than 5’5″)
    Herbert Darker (5’5″)
    You’re welcome. :)
    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Thank you Rain Man! ;-)

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    Sooooo….. where do we start? :)

    Avatar of Shadygirl

    I don’t know. Anyone have any thoughts on this first bit of reading?

    Avatar of Paul DeWig

    Well i’m re-listening to the assigned reading, after having read it a few nights ago, and i must admit that Prologue-Death from Below is my one of my favorite chapters/episodes that Scott has ever come out with.

    Avatar of Gmork

    Ok sorry about the lateness. I thought I could post some this morning while goofing off at work and I ended up being swamped. That’s karma for ya! I’ll try to post the discussion topics Monday evenings so that we can get the discussion in full swing all of Tuesday.

    With that out of the way, here are some thoughts for discussion:
    Prologue – Chapter 4
    1) In the first couple of chapters, Sonny McGuiness is described as incredibly and insatiably curious yet he’s also described as being a loner (liking to drink alone) and only truly enjoying the company of Native Americans (when he tolerated company). Discuss how a curious person can also live a life of near seclusion. Wouldn’t his curiosity drive him to be around others? Or is more that his curiosity only extends to certain subjects?

    2) As Sonny and Dennis the Deadhead discuss the existence of The Silver Spring, Sonny asks why Dennis is giving him this piece of valuable information. Dennis says that:
    a) maybe if Sonny goes there, he’ll feel what Dennis felt
    b) maybe if Sonny goes there, it will scare the shit out of him the way it did Dennis
    c) maybe Sonny can do something with the find
    d) maybe Dennis was just drunk
    Why do you believe Dennis gave this information to Sonny? Why would he want to send someone to a place that he’s convinced is Evil? Is it just a case of mutual suffering (i.e. Person1: This stinks! Here, smell this. Person 2: *sniff* Ew that really stinks! Why would you tell me to smell something that stinky?!)

    3) The theme of superstition is very strong in these opening chapters. Dennis the Deadhead is superstitious about The Silver Spring, calling it evil; Sonny has a lucky Hopi charm that he takes on specifically for his trip to find the Silver Spring; Sonny has a “lucky pie tin” that he uses for panning; when speaking to the local Native Americans Sonny notes that “even the kids and half breeds who don’t put any stock” in the old stories were afraid of the Wah Wahs.
    What’s the cause of all this superstition? Is it the absence of facts that cause this? In the case of Sonny’s lucky pie tin, is the source of his superstition more akin to gambling?

    4) Greed is also a heavy theme in these first few chapters – from Herbert Darker selling out Sonny, to Connell’s ruthlessness, to Barbara Yakely’s tolerance of Connell Kirkland’s complete shift in personality and management style after the death of his wife. Discuss whether these instances are exaggerated or believable for real life situations.

    5) Raise your hand if the description of Connell Kirkland taking his wife’s hand at the scene of the accident and realizing her bones were broken made you squirm just a little bit.
    Avatar of Twainy

    OmG I have the earth core book. I’m gonna read along! Did I read there’s a kindle version? Late to the party as usual … stupid job. No AC means no sleep in the Chicagoland area this spring/summer. Happy almost hump day! Miss you all! x

    Avatar of Paul DeWig

    1) I think Sonny is like the hermits you read about in any epic fantasy series, he hates civilization and the people in it, but he’s still curious. So as a result he is a modern day-olden way prospector.(if that makes any sense)
    2) I think that Dennis wouldn’t have given it to him if he hadn’t asked. So more so I think that Dennis believes that Sonny could actually do something profitable but at the same time sense the evil/badness and be done with it soon enough to escape with his life.
    3) This one seems obvious to me, if the land holds a sense of foreboding and it can be sensed then it would make for a suspenseful environment (not meaning just the land but the events leading to and involving its presence). As for Sonny I believe that’s just part of the paranoia that develops with hermit-esk individuals.
    4) In reference to the Greed involved I believe that it is completely plausible that all this and more could occur, especially if it was possibly the wealthiest vein on the planet.
    5) *raises hand*

    Avatar of JB

    1. The beautiful thing about curiosity is that it is unique to individuals. You may be curious about how something works, but not give a shit who put it together. While connecting with people may help you solve your curiosity, it may not be the way you choose to satiate your craving for knowledge. Some curious people may believe that relying on anyone else to satisfy what you are curious about is cheating (like looking up cheat codes on video games) and may never feel satisfied with someone’s help. Which may in turn cause them to shy away from people.

    2. I love your analogy. “This is nasty. Try this” HAHA. I believe that validation of what he was feeling would drive Dennis to share the information. I know if I felt something like that, I would want someone to verify that I wasn’t losing it.

    3. I believe that people like to cling to superstitions to help them believe that they are protected against the bad and pushed towards the good. For instance, many athletes are superstitious. If a Wide Receiver wears his “lucky socks” and catches 10 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs, those socks are going on the next game too. Clearly the socks had zero to do with his success, but belief is part of confidence, and confidence is key to success at anything. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have a lucky charm on you when you go somewhere dangerous and you make it out alive, you can bet that charm is going back there with you should yo have to go back.

    4. Money makes the world go around. How many politicians, CEOs, etc… get caught red handed doing something terrible? You honestly think that nobody else knew about their indiscretions? They are profitable for business, so those in the know keep it quiet. The Jerry Sandusky case is a perfect example. Allegedly the knowledge of what was going on was passed up the ladder to the top of Penn State University, but the fiscal damage that would have been done if that got out caused the horrible, horrible indiscretions to be swept under the carpet.

    5. HAND RAISED, Horshack style “OOH OOH MISTAH KOTTAH!!!” Aging myself with the Welcome Back Kotter reference but some will get it, and the rest can google “Horshack” Getting feelings like that when reading is the sign of tremendous writing. And tremendous writing is why we are all here on Scott’s website, discussing amazing works with complete strangers.

    Keep it coming. I love this!

    JB

    Avatar of Gmork

    JB – I like your perspective on both the point of curiosity and on Dennis the Deadhead sharing the information on The Silver Spring. I think your assertion of Dennis wanting to verify he wasn’t losing it is a succint way of putting it.

    Oh my goodness! I remember Welcome Back Kotter. Only just, but still it’s familiar. Showing our age indeed :)

    Avatar of BigJohn

    I completely agree with JB on #2. That’s exactly how I felt about it.

    As regards the superstition, I kinda got the impression that Sonny has been left behind by technology. He’s an old-school prospector, who doesn’t use high-tech tools to find treasure. He clearly has the means to live better than he does, but his innate curiosity is satisfied by a basic, down-to-earth approach to prospecting. Even so, he’s found a way to exist and be relevant in the high-tech mining world. Someone still needs to find sites, and then he can sell the rights, info or location for a pretty penny.
    His conversation with Dennis was not planned; it was a coincidence of two people being in the right place at the right time. Sonny clearly has trust issues, as a wizened miner who has been burned in the past might. But being around Native Americans as much as he has must have allowed some of the local superstition to rub off on him. He not only has his own personal superstitious relic, but he gets one more germane to the specifics of what he’s looking for when he got the info from a Hopi.

    Dennis’ change in demeanor when he starts to go into the details of why he never said anything to anyone about the Silver Spring indicates just how much he was disturbed by it, bringing up these 15-year old feelings. The opportunity comes up to tell someone about it, who might have the wherewithal to actually find the place, and validate his own misgivings about the area.

    I think Sonny’s mysterious back story is an interesting story that will never be told. It sure begs the question about why he’s a loner, but how many of us can think of a social, extroverted prospector. Not that I can think of any prospectors, really, but that vocation itself seems to attract a lone wolf. It’s like the old days, back when claim jumpers could ruin a prospector’s chances of eking out a meager living. You want to play this game, you better be prepared to do all the hard work by yourself. Trust no one. He seems to live by this credo.

    Personally, I think Connell’s reaction to his wife’s death, and the complete personality reversal seems extreme and over the top. I can buy the ruthless businessman perspective, but I find it more believable if it is NOT a complete reversal of character.

    And finally, I’m raising my hand. :D
    Avatar of Gmork

    BigJohn – you bring up an outstanding point. Sonny’s backstory would be incredibly interesting to know but I think you’re right about it never seeing the light of day.

    Regarding Connell’s reaction to his wife’s death, I’m on the fence. I once went through such a bad relationship that sent me to the edge and changed my personality/outlook. Took months to regain myself. I couldn’t imagine my reaction to losing a loved one or even worse, a child. Connell must not have had a support system in place (other family or friends) that could bring him back from the edge. I can see how desolation could root but the optimist in me doesn’t want to accept that someone could be that damaged for so long.
    Avatar of Gmork

    Oh and one other note for anyone interested in jumping in the conversation:

    I put a bunch of topics out there to discuss but please don’t feel restricted to just those topics. If there’s something else that these chapters brought up that you’d like some perspective on, just post it up and join in the fray.
    Also it’s not necessary to answer all the topics I posted. If you want to answer one and think about the rest or if you feel strongly about one and don’t care about the others, that’s ok too. Just put your thoughts down in a post and let the discussion take place!
    Avatar of Gmork

    Chapters 5 – 9

    Here are your discussion topics for this week’s reading. Remember it’s not necessary to respond to all of them… if you want to just answer one that’s fine. It’s all about the discussion. Also any other discussion topics are welcome!

    1) Angus Kool is introduced as being a genius with an attitude. Kool had earned his third Ph.D. at age 20 and was named EarthCore’s top scientist and head of research division within a year of working at the company. Mainly his attitude seems to be driven by his sense of superiority based on his intellectual achievements. He does not respect common people, stating that they weren’t smart enough to see the big picture. He does not respect his boss or his company owner. Is this justified or is he just a flaming asshole?

    2) Sonny finds old newspaper articles about Jebidiah Jessup mining in the region of the Silver Spring. In the novel Nocturnal, we run across the characters of Jebidiah Ericksonm, Alder Jessup and Adam Jessup. Discuss the possible connection, if any.

    3) Greed vs. Curiousity: Continuing on this theme, several characters recognize that the Silver Spring site is unusual. Sonny knows there is something not quite right with The Silver Spring find based on past reports of miners/explorers being murdered or going insane. Angus is quoted as saying, “The whole damn thing strikes me as strange. We’ve got a potential platinum deposit with no standard indicators that one should exist, and we’ve got what appears to be a world-record cave system.” The caves lead down to the main deposit chamber which is just under three miles below the surface, yet the current world’s record is just over two miles. Is it greed or curiosity that is driving Sonny, Angus Kool and Kirland to mine this site despite all the “unusualness”?

    4) Kayla Meyers: We learn loads of information about Kayla Meyers in these chapters, particularly her preferred torture methods, her training specifications from the NSA, and her reason for dismal from the NSA. Knowing this information (and the fact that the majority of us here are not qualified to diagnose her) what do you think she is suffering from? Revenge? A mental disorder? A predilection for pain?

    5) We learn that an identical knife like that found at The Silver Spring in Wah Wah, Utah was found in the Andes and outlined in an article in National Geographic entitled Cerro Chaltel: forgotten underground metropolis. Discuss conspiracy theories.

    Avatar of Belladonna420
    Angus Kool is the BIGGEST flaming asshole evah!!! Ugh… I don’t think I’ve ever despised a character in a book more… except for maybe “Big Jim” Rennie in Stephen King’s Under the Dome.

    I think Connell, Barbara, Angus and Sonny are all driven by greed. Even though Angus’ interest lies more in the caves than the platinum itself, he’s motivated by his desire to be the 1st human to explore them. And in my opinion, it’s not for the thrill, it’s for the sheer need to add another accomplishment to his long list of credentials, awards, degrees, etc. that make him feel superior to everyone else. Greed – Angus Kool style.

    Even Sonny, who has the most knowledge of the site and also has serious reservations about returning to the mountain, is not satisfied with his $1 million payout – he doesn’t want to give up his 2%. Greedy old coot!

    Kayla, IMO, is a psycho. She gets off on causing other people pain. It’s not a job to her, she actually ENJOYS what she does. I have a feeling that even if people stopped paying her to do what she does, she’d still torture people, just for the fun of it.
    Avatar of Gmork

    I agree with you on the flaming asshole thing with Angus Kool. I’ve met people who are so bright they think on another level and in some of them, it affects their ability to interaction socially. However, this doesn’t seem to be Angus’ problem. He seems to knowingly goad people because he feels some sort of expectation that he should be placed above every one else. Something tells me if he just got laid he’d lighten up a bit…. but what girl/guy (being equal here) would get close to him without giving him a swift kick in the balls!?!?

    Even having read this book before, I never realized how the balance of geed and curiosity was at the crux of these characters decisions. And I can’t say that faced with the same situation, that I wouldn’t do the same thing. If I knew something was trouble but had a burning desire to know more about it or get my hands involve with it, you darn tooting I would take the chance. I suppose it’s one of those things where the perceived risk is less than the desire to quench curiosity. “Perceived risk” being the operative phrase here ;)
    Avatar of Gmork

    Remember: This week we are reading chapters 10 through 13.

    Chapter Print Page # Kindle Location (Bella’s) Discussion Day
    Prologue-4 1 – 29 34 – 479 19-Jun
    5 – 9 30 – 72 479 – 1322 26-Jun
    10 – 13 73 – 99 1322 – 1840 3-Jul
    I’ll be posting topics for discussion later tonight so we can discuss first thing tomorrow!
    Avatar of Gmork

    So for those of you that have read this book before, reading this section and coming up with topics was very hard…. it could definitely lead to a bunch of future spoilers. So I tried to present these questions with as little possibility for spoilers. Again, remember that it is not necessary to answer all the questions and by all means, if you have a burning topic to discuss about these chapters, CHIME IN!

    1) Kayla is described as having a rough upbringing where her “and her two sisters all suffered [their father's] abuse, his beatings, [and] his touch.” Later in the chapter we’re told that Kayla joined the marines where “her killer instinct was encouraged and honed.”

    Discuss whether or not her upbringing gave fruit to her current predilection for violence or was it more a matter of military training, particularly while with the NSA?

    2) Discuss the moral/ethical implications of allowing Cyrus Meyers murder to go without investigation?

    3) Dr Veronica Reeves posits that the civilization in Cerro Chaltel and the civilization 7,000 miles away in Utah, where similar knives were found, were part of an empire. Discuss what evidence the reader is presented with to make this theory valid.

    4) Why is it important to hear about the two civilizations from Dr Reeves perspective? Do you sympathize with the need for archeological understanding or with Connell Kirkland’s capitalist approach?

    5) Were there any passages that strike you as insightful or profound?

    Avatar of BigJohn

    umm…i think i need to go back and re-read/listen. I don’t remember these things having come up!

    Avatar of Gmork

    Oh noes! lol :)

    Avatar of scottsigler

    This is awesome!

    Avatar of Gmork

    It’s been fun to re-read EarthCore and re-experience these characters. For me it’s also interesting to run across some of the connections to other works that weren’t yet fully realized when EarthCore was initially released.

    The only difficult thing is while I am reading the print version, my brain wants to read them in all of your character voices! :)

    Avatar of Belladonna420

    I TOTALLY hear Scott’s character voices in my head while I read! And that goes for ALL of his books! ;-)

    Avatar of Gmork
    Chapter Print Page # Kindle Location (Bella’s) Discussion Day
    Prologue-4 1 – 29 34 – 479 19-Jun
    5 – 9 30 – 72 479 – 1322 26-Jun
    10 – 13 73 – 99 1322 – 1840 3-Jul
    14 – 16 100 – 118 1840 – 2222 10-Jul
    17 – 20 119 – 146 2222 – 2778 17-Jul

    Sorry junkies – I totally didn’t post questions last week (Bad Gmork). But here were are with hot, fresh questions for Chapters 17 – 20. Dig in and as always, it’s not necessary to answer all the questions. Just answer what moves you – or post any questions you may have a burning desire to discuss as well!

    1) Between the rotary separator blowing up in the lab, confirmation from Barbara Yakely that the intruders were not competitors, and the Killroy was here sign, why wouldn’t Connell stop all work to get to the Dense Mass to first determine the cause of all the mishaps?

    2) Would you agree with Sonny’s assessment that Funeral Mountain was “waking up” or is it still just superstition coupled with coincidence?

    3) Echoing Connell’s question, why would the head of security (O’Doyle) bring the top executive (Connell) down into a potentially dangerous mine when he could have returned to the surface to report his findings?

    4) [For the newbies who haven't read the book already] What do you think of the postulation that the carvings on the Picture Cavern were a classroom rather than religious motifs? Could there have been two distinct cultures occupying the caverns? Does the graffiti over the carved pictures support that?


    5) With Angus out of commission, Katerina Hayes took over the onsite lab. She finds herself in the unenviable position of having to be the boss over her peers and understanding why Angus was such a “prick” to his employees. Discuss whether this management style is valid. Is it necessary to be a prick as a manager in order to motivate results?

    6) Katerina Hayes also comes across important, albeit preliminary, findings about the cave-ins that are happening. If correct, it could have implications for the lives and safety of the miners, yet Katerina decides to rerun the calculations rather than go to Connell with the preliminary findings. Discuss whether this is a responsible thing to do. Is a culture of fear (of Connell) causing a delay in potentially important safety information being distributed?

    Avatar of JB

    Im going to go with number 1 and 5.

    1. Simply put – GREED. His eyes were wide on a prize that would have been the biggest find in the history of his field and would have made him and his family wealthy for generations. Either he was pulling a Daffy Duck “DOWN DOWN DOWN MINE MINE MINE” and plowing straight towards his objective, or he had a feeling the shit was hitting the fan and wanted to get in, get the platinum and get out as quickly as possible before it all fell apart – essentially getting whatever he could before the whole thing came completely un-fucked.

    5. Being in management I can say that there is a thin line between being firm and being a prick. In a business where lives are at stake and the value is as high as what he finds, combined with being all the way at the top of the Org chart, being a prick can be effective. When you are making a significant amount of money, you will be motivated by knowing that your job is at risk. If it was a low paying job, the boss can’t be a prick. Someone famous in management whose name I don’t care enough to remember once said that people don’t leave jobs, people leave people. If you are making a ton of money, you don’t leave those people because as nasty as they are, they are effective in getting you paid and paid well. That being said, I am not a proponent of managing through fear. I manage by being as nice as possible, while constantly watching to make sure nobody takes advantage of that. If they do, then I’m a prick. It’s like yelling at your kids. If you do it all the time, it loses its effectiveness. “Oh the boss is being a jerkoff again. What a shock.” When the nice guy manager is being a dick, people pay attention and clearly know something is wrong.

    Avatar of Gmork

    JB – I totally agree with your thoughts on management, particularly on people leaving jobs because of people. In EarthCore, there seems to be a culture of taking it on the chin because that’s going to lead to more responsibility and eventually more money. But it’s an outright crappy place to work and unless greed (which seems to be the motivator for many of the characters) is the employees main motivator, I can’t see staying at a job that is not personally rewarding and that interferes that significantly with family life.

    I think good management is setting challenging expectations, following up on those expectations with clear communication and then rewarding people in the way that motivates them best when they achieve those goals – for some that’s recognition, and for others that monetary gains or promotions.
    Avatar of Gmork

    Chapter Print Page # Kindle Location (Bella’s) Discussion Day
    Prologue-4 1 – 29 34 – 479 19-Jun
    5 – 9 30 – 72 479 – 1322 26-Jun
    10 – 13 73 – 99 1322 – 1840 3-Jul
    14 – 16 100 – 118 1840 – 2222 10-Jul
    17 – 20 119 – 146 2222 – 2778 17-Jul
    21 – 24 147 – 176 2778 – 3369

    24-Jul

    Junkies, here’s your questions for this week’s chapters. As usual, you can chime in on one or all and don’t be shy about posting your own questions if they aren’t already covered:

    1) In Chapter 21, Dr Katerina Hayes gives Connell irrefutable evidence that someone other than EarthCore has infiltrated the mine. Only after this realization (in conjunction with Jansson’s likely death) does Connell have the epiphany that people’s lives are more important than profit – although it’s not enough of any epiphany to save Connell from firing Fritz. Do you see this as the beginning of a turn around in Connell’s detachment from humanity or is he just covering his butt?

    2) We now know the “rustling leaves” sound is the harbinger of these fleshy, boneless tentacle creatures that slaughter the EarthCore camp. How do you envision these tenatcle-ly creatures weilding one of their unique silver knives? How would a fleshy/boneless creature create such a weapon?

    3) What connection do you see (if there is one) between the Silverbugs and the tentacle creatures?

    4) Kayla sees these creatures as her way back into the NSA. With no phoyographic evidence and with her violent history, do you think Kayla would be taken seriously or would she be treated like a suspect to the murder of the EarthCore employees?

    5) Sonny’s curiousity has him follow Cho’s distress signal only to see him murdered by Kayla Meyers. That leads him to wonder who Kayla is and why she would be interested in murdering the lone survior of the EarthCore camp. Against his better judegement he heads back to the mine to get answers. What would you do if you were in Sonny’s place. Would curiousity be enough to drive you back toward a killer?

    Avatar of JB

    Gmork – Are you a college professor? These questions are very insightful and well thought out. :)

    I’m going to answer 3 and 5 this week.

    3) I see a military comparison between the silverbugs and the rocktopi. The silverbugs almost seem like scouts, and the rocktopi the heavy hitting artillary. The silverbugs watch and follow, and are shortly followed up by the rocktopi as if they were called in by the silverbugs.

    5) Sonny is an idiot. There is no curiosity that great that would ever send me back to the jaws of death. Sonny has zero intent on going after the platinum and had felt what “funeral mountain” was all about. There is nothing waiting for him but the potential horrors that he felt chill his spine. Who the hell cares what Kayla is after? She’s a murderer, as Sonny witnessed when she killed Cho. So he is going into a terrifying mountain where he felt death approaching, to follow a murderer? I don’t know about this guy. Maybe he is a bit suicidal.

    Avatar of Gmork

    Aww JB, you made my day! Not a college professor …. just spurred to introspection by my junkie obsession :)

    Regarding Sonny, I totally laughed out loud reading your response. I think if I just saw some one murder an aquaintence, the only direction I would be going is the opposite of that person. Maybe his confidence in knowning the land made him over confident in his ability to outsmart Kayla. Maybe he’s got a back story that makes him desensitized to blatant murder….I don’t know. All I know is if I had the willies about a place, then saw a camp destroyed with no evidence of its existence, then saw a murder…. I’d be so outta there on my way to Mexico, or Peru or any non extraditable country!!!

    Avatar of Gmork

    Chapter Print Page # Kindle Location (Bella’s) Discussion Day
    Prologue-4 1 – 29 34 – 479 19-Jun
    5 – 9 30 – 72 479 – 1322 26-Jun
    10 – 13 73 – 99 1322 – 1840 3-Jul
    14 – 16 100 – 118 1840 – 2222 10-Jul
    17 – 20 119 – 146 2222 – 2778 17-Jul
    21 – 24 147 – 176 2778 – 3369 24-Jul
    25 – 29 177 – 207 3369 – 4245 31-Jul

    This week’s questions for chapters 25- 29. As usual, you don’t have to answer them all, and y’all are more than welcome to pose any burning questions or comments other than what’s listed below. Now have at it!

    1) It’s understandable that Angus Kool, being a spelunking fan, would get out of work to be the first to explore the vast, unique tunnel structure that was the EarthCore mining site, but why would he go so far as to plant the “Kilroy was here” signs? Particularly since Connell made it clear he could ruin Angus’ reputation in the industry?

    2) Angus and Randy recognize that the Silverbugs (or ALs as they call it) seem to be tracking them yet they go ahead with catching and dissecting one. O’Doyle has a very militaristic approach to the Silverbugs, seeing them as a potential threat. Why the do Angus and Randy not show the the same fear/caution towards this unknown technology as O’Doyle? Is it hubris? Curiousity? Naivety?

    3) It’s clear Sonny is a man of the land, making him gritty and tough. However the following passage has me wondering about his back story. He’s contemplated killing Kayla Meyers. Is he driven to killing by revenge for Cho? Has he killed before?

    If he could just get a little bit of information, something the cops could use to track her down, then he could take off. He’d given up the fantasy of killing her himself. He couldn’t take the psycho bitch.

    4) We’re formally introduced to the Rocktopi (aka Tentacle Gods, aka Reevus Haakus). These aggressive subterranean creatures have attacked and are clearly working in concert with the Silverbugs. They have big brains, advanced weapons and a developed agriculture. Vernica specualted that the Rocktopi are aliens and that’s she’s wasted her time at Cerro Chaltel trying to document a lost human culture only to find it is neither lost nor human. Are you in aggreement (at this point in the story) that they are indeed alien or just some separately evoluted species?

    And I’l end with a little commentary. In these chapters we come across the term “stalactite.” As a kid, I learned the difference between stalactites (cave formations hanging from the ceiling) as opposed to stalagmites (cave formations protruding up from the ground) based on the word phonetic similarity to the word “tight”. Which ever term ended in “tight” was the the one that was meant for formations hanging from cave ceilings… as if they are holding on the ceilings “tightly!” :)

    Avatar of GJ

    Oh my oh my oh my. I am quite behind in this. I’ve reached 10%….

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