Spoiler Alert! The BIG list.
Want more than the basic book club discussion questions after reading Lenders? Warning: this section does contain spoilers so read the entire book first!
Here you’ll find in-depth questions, ideas, trivia, easter eggs, and creative-writing exercises you and your group or fan club might like to dive into! Written by yours truly, most while editing the particular chapter in question.
If you’d like to host me at your book club or ask questions via Skype, please contact. Use the quantum-transmission form at page bottom!
Now, let’s dive into the wormhole!
- Chapter: Amy. We get further introduced to this beautiful young woman; she’s now 18 years old! And, right after being introduced to Jim, her soon-to-be mentor. What does she love, that he loathes, with his peevish malcontent? And is it like they say about opposites, or do you think—there’s a chance? Do you love Amy, or are you a malcontent, and perhaps her happy glee get’s you down. And interestingly, what do you think of Mr. Grouch?
- Remember Lion’s new weed-pulling partner? The story mentions that he always kept to himself in school. Could that be the reason he has one of the simplest jobs in town? And if so, why? What grand implications could this Jupiter-sized revelation, tossed into the story like a molecule of seasoning, mean?
- The Blocker!
“Here they are,” Jon said, and he removed the file from his pocket. “And like you said, no one noticed anything different from the main project. I did recognize that many were reverse modifications of some of the ones we did two months ago.”
Any idea why the algorithms would be a reverse modification of the ones they’d completed for project Archeus (artificial intelligence)? This might take a clever amount of adding two paragraphs in the novel, but the reasoning means everything for the man, and those he has chosen.
- Chapter 49: Future City…
After the insanity that would send almost anyone to the place Herald dreads the most, Jim explained: “If you ever feel like you’re getting sucked out, it’s almost too late anyway.” A real-world feeling while lucid dreaming. Solution? Well, try spinning around inside your dream, with your arms out. Have you experienced a lucid dream? Describe the feeling of being pulled back to your bed in the real world. And if so, what special techniques have you tried that will keep you from being—sucked out?
- Also, in Chapter 49: Future City…
Amy noticed that, if she paid them no attention, even in chaotic and quite literally moment that would have even the insects running for the hills, the dream characters would oddly lose focus on her. She made a mental note. Where did she employ the reverse of this tactic, and who forgot how the dream world differed from the real world, in exactly this aspect? At what utterly disturbing, schadenfreude-surging cost?
- Chapter 50: Shocking Rationalizations!
Have you ever tried lucid dreaming? Jim tried a few reality checks Amy had taught him, when his hair was coming out…
And he tried other reality checks that he’d learned from Amy over coffee a few days ago: pushing a finger through his palm, looking away then back to see if text changes, the time—likewise does it change, and he flipped the light switch several times, which worked just fine. Nope—this, was real, he thought, totally shocked out of his new and changing gourd!
What reality checks have you tried when something seemed, well, a little bit off—and you realized: this has to be a dream?
- Chapter 53: Linear Plans.
Want to remember your dreams better? Then, as Ted instructed in this chapter, perhaps you should start a dream journal. Upon waking, immediately record your dreams. Within short time you will put dreams to the forefront of importance. You’ll no longer wake wondering about work, bills, and other things first—dreams will get priority, and you’ll remember vivid, clear, amazing dreams from every night of sleep—or day if you sleep during the day! Already try it? Share your experiences. Or, what works better, or equally as well, in terms of improving your dream recall?
- My wife’s favorite chapter—SKATE PARK with Lia! What was your favorite? Personally, I don’t think I could narrow it down to an absolute fav, but I liked Wormhole, Ana, and Rescue II…forget it, I like too many and enjoyed reading them—at least 20 times!
Wait a second, while I’m hot on the idea. Speaking of the chapter, Lia, and the massive, majestic moon of a skate park, how does another one of Amy’s mental note, made during another sparked realization, contribute to future miracles? And exactly which miracle was it? What was your favorite miracle, performed by Amy?
Lia stood and extended her arms and tilted her face to meet the warm glow of the massive planet. Her smile fought the universe with a pure and rapturous flow of contentment. And Amy focused on her, and could feel it. It was a feeling of goodness that was new to her. It made her tingle all over. She made a strong mental note of it, and its possible potential which her creativity so quickly began to ponder about.
- Chapter 59: The Trial. Oh no! Did you feel any pity for you-know-who? Any at all? Well if not, don’t stop reading—hint, hint, hint, and another 500 pages!
What did you think of Hilda? She ruled with an IRON FIST—and if she gave chase to anyone, for even the smallest of crimes, she never gave up!
Can you find Hilda elsewhere in the story? And if she really had chased someone, then who could it be? And to where without giving up? Could you just imagine it! Well I could, but here’s a challenge: Write up a 20-sentence story, Hilda chasing…whoever, or whatever! I’d absolutely love to read it!
- Rationalizing, we all do it, some more than others! Chapter 61: A Board Game, and Jessie’s visit…Hold up, I wish I had been there to play the—wait…what game were they playing anyway?
Then, interruption. Typical, right? Jessie said, “I’ve never actually logged in with anyone besides George and I have to tell you, honestly, I was always in my heart looking forward to our time together.” Did you catch it?
To Jim later on, Amy said, “Well, she told me she was sorry for being mean. She wants to be friends and said she’s, quote, honestly looking forward to working together tomorrow.”
Rationalizing is a powerful force that we all do while dreaming, and, so it seems, something Amy has done here, dissolving which very important word into oblivion? Are you a hardcore rationalizer, and what would it take in order for you to finally realize that, this is just a dang dream? That I am not riding a flying elephant, pulling its ears, and rocketing to the stars? What instances of rationalizing went to extremes in LENDERS, both in, and outside of the dreamworld?
- Same chapter. Jim had developed a penchant for watching Amy eat, or should we simply even call it, eating? Well, Jim no longer wondered how so much food could just vanish. He was convinced—it just evaporated in her stomach!
Why the that suggestion? Perhaps, real life could be a dream—because there’s no possible way someone can eat that much! What other inferences in the story might infer that real life is the dream, and perhaps, that the dream world is the real instead? Did you think that the outside world was the virtual world? What kept you guessing? And, if you really want to know the truth you’ll have to stay tuned! What would you like to have happen in the sequel? Drop me a line because I’d love to hear it!
- Chapter 69. Fantasy Land! This is one of the chapters in which I found myself bursting like a balloon. My wife would look back at me from the couch and say, “What? What’s so funny?” Then, “You’re crazy.”
But aside from Q abusing the noobs and making them look like idiots—damn, I just started laughing again!
Okay, one more try, serious, get serious again Travis, serious… Breathe…
Now, remember as Rico entered the wall, when it seemed to gel up and he found himself stuck and yelling for help. Then Jim reached into the hundred-foot-tall grey stone he’d just stepped out from, feeling for him. He touched his chest then spidered his fingers to find an arm. He reached down for his hand and pulled, and tugged. It was like pulling a mammoth through a tar pit. Rico was coming, but slowly. As he heaved a third time he finally made it.
Why did Rico get stuck in the wall? Use your imagination. And again, I’d love to hear about poor Rico’s experience in your own words, say…five sentences about what in the freakin’ world it must’ve felt like. And if you know me, I want you to go balls-to-the-wall fucking crazy with it!
- Challenge! An office nerds steps into Wonderland. Write only one sentence that describes how you would feel. How would you feel after working in the control room for more than a decade, a black-and-white world, if you had just nearly lost it, gone for ride with Felix in Ol’ Esperanza, then ended up in such a magnificent place, all the while being slapped and punched and mocked.
- Chapter 71: Vivified Attention…after the madness. It was nevertheless his first in a long time, and with it, he noticed his thoughts became clear, well-focused—as if his mind was an opened can of worms: its escapees were squirming curiously to new places, leaving the constraint that’d once held them into unmovable positions. And he was a little woozy but shook it off and headed to the BROCC. Jim followed, making sure he was okay. After about ten steps with his real feet the weird transitional feeling dissipated.
Does Rico receive this weird feeling because he was logged in to a dream map? When he logged out he felt odd, but what was the real reason for the “opening of the can of worms” in his brain?
- Chapter 80: Incoming. Oh shit!
And in the control room we hear a few mumbling utters from you-know-who…
He snickered to himself crazily atop the massive pile, mumbling barely coherent words: “Jessie, oh, I’m gonna, ah, just like that. Oh, Jessie, why, why, why wouldn’t you touch me.” The team glanced up to him momentarily with little regard. The beady-eyed fuck was quiet and seemed to be entertaining himself, and they had more important issues at hand.
Well, I’m not sure what Jessie did, but it sounds like she didn’t even touch him. Ideas? A scenario to fail in the blank? Let me know how you would fill this lacuna, because I’d love to hear it! And if you are really interested, then stayed tuned for LENDERS II.
By the way, do you think I overdid it with it’s punishment?
- Believe. Believe in yourself! Sometimes when I’m alone, and I’m having a bad day, week, or whole month, I speak to myself, and one of the phrases I say out loud, which I learned from a movie dealing with survival in the Alaskan wilderness (I’ll let you figure out which), is, What one man can do, another man can do! Man of course referring to mankind, humanity. You can do anything, and never forget it! Now, lets relate this to the story at hand.
Amy tells him head on, like a truck:
“Jim, first thing. Never, ever, say can’t again. Second, your mind is more powerful than any software could ever be. You must believe it.” Amy grabbed him by the shoulders and looked deep into his turquoise and now more natural-looking eyes. She leaned forward and kissed him then said slowly, “I love you, Jim.” It wasn’t a lie but she knew he needed to be touched by deep and powerful emotions, it would give him the strength and sheer will to believe.
What lessons did she learn from each of the lenders she spent time with. Jim in Future City, Myron in the Canyon map, Nanny at the State Fair, and Lia at the Skatepark. What powerful lessons have you learned in life that got you through the most difficult times? What is one sentence that you can speak to your fellow human, that might one day allow them to break down walls and achieve their maximum potential, then blast past even that?
- Chapter 81: Believe. In transitioning to Old Town using Jim’s imagination as a channel…
Amy said, “Wow. That was incredible. What a ride.” Apparently she enjoyed it.
Jim didn’t, not at all. A little funny actually. But in fact, Jim dreaded ever doing it again, yet he didn’t tell her (his other deep side; he keeps many things to himself). He just nodded and guzzled the other half of his skunky beer. Amy joined him in a drink, looking around. Over the tip of his beer he noticed Felix’s old pickup, Esperanza, parked by the mercado.
Are they complete opposites? How many other instances in the story have there, and does there continue to be conflicting perspectives between them, both good or bad?
- Chapter 84: The Decision.
The mezcal was smooth and sweet; the shot went down quickly, without a chaser. Jim no longer needed chasers in life. Like his black coffee, he just wanted it straight.
He’d started using coffee creamer again! When did he stop—or start? Why?
Also at the picnic table: Something in Jim’s mind constructed a wall and he didn’t want to take it there; he kept his deepest thoughts on the idea imprisoned—but something, something long lost, was pushing to get out.
What was the wall holding back, and what was the reason for a wall in the first place?
- Chapter 86: Wormhole. Really, one of my favorites and I had a blast writing it! Jim as he transitioned through the nothing, or, the something…Where am I now? I’m in my apartment. I’m looking at Amy’s file. I see myself from above yet from within during the same moment. I—I see my future and past. I feel my anger and seething hatred. I see time as peaks and valleys and this is a peak, the highest of them all. Tell myself, but how? What? Don’t get up. Tell myself what I know now. Who? Him, tell him. That’s me. I can—prevent . . . But how!? Give him a sign! Stay there. Reach for it, quick make him look at the—
Imagine if that’s what really happened during a déjà vu? In the very early chapter 8: Jim, he felt it from the other side, a weird feeling as if he was looking down on himself. Have you ever experienced such a weird feeling? And what is the craziest explanation you could come up with for having such an odd sensation?
And, after exiting the nothing…
Greg said, “We’re in!”
“Fuck!” Jim shook his head and took in a deep breath.
“That was awesome!” Amy said. Equally freaked out, but in a good way, she loved it.
Well, this part had me laughing out loud! Again my wife looked back at me, sitting at the dining room table, writing and bursting like Jon in the chapter Hot Sauce. What parts of the story had you laughing, or crying?
- Chapter 87: The Fall…
And one of the most saddest chapters, especially for me. You?
In dreams we rationalize, our minds do it recursively until even the weirdest things can make sense. Here, Jim is rationalizing…Something must’ve eaten the flesh from the bones, it’s just too cold for them to decompose by themselves.” He moved his head, searching, holding her tight. But—it could be part of the choice. An illusion? Like his mind, and his new senses and capacities, it was dizzying. He knew—he was all fucked up. Amy on the other hand was firm, she’d made her choice. “Back at the Old Town mercado,” he continued, “Greg said it was my choice first.”
“Jim, don’t do this, you’re rationalizing,” Amy said. A tiny tear escaped her flooded eyes. Silently, a raspy whisper escaped her lips— she pleaded, “Please.”He was ready to rationalize the pain away, throwing his lucidity off the cliff, but Amy was 100% lucid. I bet you wake up nearly every day wondering how in the world could I not realize I was dreaming? Elaborate, please. Let’s hear some of your craziest, of saddest dreams.
- Chapter 90: Right then and there…
I must admit, I love the story in the past, with Herald, Jon, Ana, Rafael, and the others. I like it better than its future counterpart. Right now Herald is explaining few things, employing once again his perspicacity.Herald continued. “And the people, Jon, they’re mindless comfortable drones, zombies. The world might appear perfect, from the top of your building. Below, people are changing their sexual orientation on the fly. Fucking each other’s bots, then changing back, getting married, then divorced a week later—just to try it, anything goes. Thin as bones, or fat, muscular like an ox because they want to, no limits. Frivolously people modify their DNA, change their eyes, skin tone, hair color—just for a night on the town. Powers that weren’t meant to be toyed with, not like that. Everything has a consequence. We might as well be in the Stone Age, with the best disguise technology can provide, an economical sea of distractions, yet most can’t see it. Yes, there are good people out there, fighting for the bots, the very AI we created, but is it enough—and should they be—does it even matter?”
It gives me chills to thing about it, and I hope this remains fiction in every way. Some if the story really impacted me as I wrote it, and reread it over and over. What parts made an impact on you?
- Chapter 91: Introduction. So here we have it: the world’s first LENDERS!
Jon said, “It must’ve cost—”
“I spent every penny,” Herald said quickly. “This is the result of our family effort—and a very special team. I couldn’t have done it without the love of my life, Ana, and Rafael my best friend, and of course Amy with her many distractions, alerting me when it was time for a much needed break—to maintain balance.
Jon mentions Rafael as his best friend, a few times—while Jon always considers Herald as his. Why the change, or was it always a one-sided friendship?
- Chapter 93: Monday…
Jodi lit the joint and offered it to Jon and Herald. Rafael looked slightly disappointed that she didn’t offer him any; he excused himself and went in to help Ana with breakfast.
And, Chapter 95: Preparations…
Herald finished then went back inside and Jon stayed with Rafael who slyly pretended to make his burrito vanish.
Rafael is something else, isn’t he? I think he would probably be my best friend too! Why would he fake eat? And I so want to tell you a secret, but I can’t yet!
- Chapter 98: Wednesday… The shit really is starting to hit the fan now.Maggie and Blanca, wives of the two lenders going on the trip, arrived escorted by helper-bot Roger. Both were obviously pregnant, and it was clear they both went through a teary-eyed goodbye moments earlier. Herald nodded as they passed and they headed into the new living area. Roger took his spot and deactivated.
But, I thought Red said that he and his wife never could have kids? How could it be possible that Maggie is pregnant? Any ideas, or perspicacious speculations?
- Chapter 101: The Getaway. Another one of my favorites. All of these last chapters have me, like Jim before heading into the wormhole, crushing my armrests.
How had Herald managed to save Rosita, and did it work as expected? TIDBIT: We’ll learn a lot more about this in the second book, too. But what do you think now?
- Chapter 105: A Trillion-to-One Odds… The energy in this chapter is insane!The display labeled it: Cibola National Forest. The city below was ablaze, in ruins, they’d just passed over: Socorro, New Mexico.
From the ship Herald pointed to a small field surrounded by trees high on the largest mountain. There was a gate on a dirt access road next to it, and beyond it the winding road continued to the peak.Have you ever been to Cibola National Forest? Check out this exact road, where you can drive up to almost 10,000 feet (a 4×4 is recommended). You’ll see the fields of grass, and the gate, exactly where Herald, having little choice, left Amy in the protection of Jerry, Valerie, Jon, and Jodi. The view from this spot is amazing, and not too much farther west is the VLA (Very Large Array). Share your opinion of New Mexico and these surrounding areas for others!
By the way, in the very first chapter this is where I pictured Jon, looking out at the hundreds-mile desert vista, depressed because Herald hasn’t returned yet.
- I’ll make this one short. Also is Chapter 105: Did he had to leave them? Share your feedback. What would you have done under the pressing circumstances?
- Chapter 106: Mud Pig’s Just Deserts…
There was a lacuna to Jim’s new knowledge, however, but he put things together like other times in his life; he took it all in, added everything up and surmised. Intuition on overdrive.
What exactly was this lacuna, the missing segments, and why?
And I bet it’s been a while since you heard the phrase just deserts, same here! Interesting etymology, check it out.
- Chapter 107: Final… THE END
Why wouldn’t Herald have simply saved Jim? He made a promise to you-know-who (spoiler cover) that he would try to save him, so why deposit him, like so many others, into Jewel City for such a long trial and tribulation?
That’s it folks. And thanks again for reading my book and visiting this page. I hope you had a great time and I look forward to sharing part two of Lenders soon!