No writer knows better than de Camp how to show a reader a good time, and Rogue Queen is a good example of the mixture of ideas and adventure that makes his fiction appealing. At one time, the novel's allegorical portrait of the evils of communism might have been the best place to begin a discussion, but with the end of the Cold War, discussion members may find the topic less urgent than it was when the novel was written. Thus a discussion might best begin with other themes such as the relationship between the sexes, the value of literature as an educational tool (A Girl of the Limberlost), the dangers of giving to technologically primitive cultures technology far in advance of their own, and the challenges in space exploration created by a strict adherence to Einsteinian physical laws such as the speed of light being the ultimate speed for movement in the universe.
1. How odd do human beings appear to the Avtini?
2. What about human beings most alarms the Avtini?
3. Why would introducing something as simple as the machete be dangerous for the Avtini? Try to find all the aspects of the machete that would be new to the Avtini (for instance, the metal alloy) and examine how they could change Avtini life for good or ill.
4. Why is romantic passion both seductive and frightening in the novel?
5. Are the Avtini too much like human beings? How much of the humanness is dictated by the novel's themes (if the author wishes to use Avtini society to comment on an aspect of human affairs, he almost certainly has to make them at least a little humanlike or his audience might miss the commentary)?
6. How does Elham society resemble communism? Does de Camp devote too much space to condemning communism?
7. What are the adjustments space farers have to make because of the speed limit of light? Can you think of adjustments that would need to be made in addition to those mentioned in the novel?
8. Why would de Camp choose to make Brazil the dominant future culture on earth? Is he extrapolating from twentieth-century trends?
9. Is the rediscovery of romantic love good for the Avtini? By reintroducing romantic love, have the human beings wrongfully altered the balance of the Avtini culture? Why would the Avtini females have fought a war to eliminate romantic relationships and nearly exterminate all males?
10. How could a book such as Girl of the Limberlost change a culture? Besides passion, what else might Avtini readers learn from the book?