DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1) Complex adaptive systems consist of different elements that when put together, interact to create a response. Elusion is a complex adaptive system. The app and Equip connects with an iCloud and then interacts with the User to provide them with their own individual Escape. In real life, an example of a complex adaptive system would be a rainstorm. The size of the clouds, the temperature in the air, the amount of water droplets and gravity are all elements that determine the size and scope of the storm. Can you name another complex adaptive system in the real world?

2) Elusion consists of an app and Equip (visor, earbuds and wristband) that allows the user to experience “trypnosis.” Although a fictional term, this is a blend of real science, as Patrick describes in his news conference (p. 26-27). What types of science are involved? How do they work together?

3) The media plays an important role in the promotion and downfall of Elusion. Overall, does the media help or hurt the situation?

4) How would you describe Regan in the beginning of the book? And how does she change after all her discoveries?

5) Describe the differences between Patrick and Josh, as well as the similarities. What draws Regan to both of them? How do their characters reflect the themes of the book? 

6) It’s only safe to be in Elusion for one hour, yet hackers are overriding the safety function and some of these kids have died, others are severely injured. Who do you think is accountable? The User or the manufacturer? Why?

7) What is your favorite aspect of Elusion? What kind of Escape would you want to visit and why? And what would your Ex-setting be?

8) Regan and Josh experience their first kiss in the Mount Arvon Escape. Afterwards, (p. 205) Regan wonders if he really meant it or if it was just a response to being in Elusion. Do you think people are as responsible for their actions in a virtual world as they are in the real world?

9) Regan’s father’s favorite book is WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau. The book plays a large role in terms of the clues her father left for Regan. What is the symbolism of this book? Why do you think it was so important to Regan’s father? How does the book tie into the themes of Elusion?

10) In the futuristic world of Elusion, nature has suffered from acid rain and pollution. Regan’s father designed the escapes so that users could experience the natural beauty of the world before it was destroyed. In today’s world, do you think enough is being done to conserve nature? If not, what else would you suggest?

11) Although Regan knows that there are persuasive rumors Elusion is addictive, she still decides to use it. Is that courageous or naïve?

12) Discuss the setting of the story and how it impacts the lives of the characters. Does the environment in which they live seem believable?

13) There are a lot of rumors regarding Elusion and Regan’s dad, but Regan doesn’t want to believe them until she has proof they’re true. When you hear rumors, how do you react?

14) Regan has to make some tough choices in the story as she pursues the truth and finds herself in a moral quandary, like when she has to take information from her best friend’s computer without his knowledge. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to do the wrong thing in order to do the right thing?

15) In Elusion, people’s better self is presented. Do you feel you present an honest version of yourself online? Do most people?

16) David built Elusion with good intentions, but it turned out to be dangerous. Is there anything in real life that has been built for the well-being of mankind, but has ended up being used for nefarious purposes? What about the opposite? Is there anything that was built for nefarious purposes that has ended up being used for good?

17) In Elusion, Users are able to escape to a magical, virtual world where they can meet up with friends. In spite of Aftershock and the rumors of addiction, the public continues to use it.  There are devices in the real world that may soon be available that will function in a similar way to Elusion, creating a virtual reality where users can meet up with friends. The media has already started warning that these devices might be addictive. How do you feel about this? If a virtual reality system were manufactured, would you use it? Explain your position.