So, I’m late to the game on the whole Page 69 Test phenomenon, but I’ve been writing.
Attributed to author Marshall McLuhan (and also known as the McLuhan Test), an individual reads Page 69 of any work of prose to decide if he or she is even interested in the book.
Well, then. It’s time to find out how the Dome Trilogy fares on the Page 69 Test.
On page 69, Remy has just completed a citizenship test and is speaking with the test administrators. One of them is flirting with her, and she’s trying to be polite as others taking the citizenship examination are in distress. Only one question on the examination has been changed mid-test; they have to reset the examination for the group who is still mid-examination. She’s offered the chance to return to her examination, but she declines.
Remy leaves and returns to her mother’s home. She prepares herself to return to her apartment in Darkside. Then, she tells her mother that she’ll return when she’s a citizen. Her mother tells her not to disappear again, and Remy says, “In five years, we’re going to be laughing over dinner about the last ten.”
Well, when I read this page, I was disappointed at the lottery pick of scenes. Though it does indicate that something is really not right with the citizenship examination, it’s not as good as page 107. One of my favorite scenes in Beneath a Sunless Sky and a lynch pin for the series, Page 107 kicks it into high gear with this line:
“The door opened onto absolute chaos.”
Pass? Fail? Not sure. It’s not a sure-fire attention-grabber, but it’s not bad.
I love Book Two. I really want it to pass. I busted my butt editing it, learning from the mistakes I had made in Book One.
Hunh. Remy’s getting drunk at a big party. She’s in a conversation with two characters (a young couple) and fires Daniel, her door guard, so he “and Essi can start on [their] dozen children and [their] farm.”
The girl he’s with, Essi, learns that Remy’s not supposed to be there, and Remy’s presence will get Daniel in trouble and stop their marriage plans. Daniel reassures her but lets Essi know he is a soldier first. Then, he tells her that she’s got the same obligation as he does, if she’s ever called to serve. Essi’s concerned about getting married; Daniel reassures her; Remy, in her cups, says she’ll help them if they name their first child after her mother.
Daniel says he needs to take Remy back, because she’s obviously not used to what the Freedomers brew. Then, he takes her from the party (there’s a band and dancing!), and the page ends with an elevator ride up to . . . well, that’s on Page 70.
Yeah. That’s like the first one. I’d have preferred Page 145, when Remy has an existential crisis, or Page 302, which begins a firefight between Remy and her nemesis. Someone dies in that one. Well, okay, a lot of people die on Page 302. Also, Remy’s technology gives everyone an unexpected surprise. Oh, well. There’s always Solaray Dawn.
Since Solaray Dawn was written to tuck in every loose end I could find, this is a big book. Definitely a bug-smoosher or nail-hammerer in paperback. However, I’ve got high hopes, because the story starts fast. Let’s hope Page 69 delivers.
To quote George Takei: “Oh my-y-y-y.”
The page starts with Remy saying she won money on a bet, that she only gambles when she knows she’ll win. The door opens and Nick comes in to punch Godwin’s face. Remy grabs Nick’s hand and unintentionally breaks it. Nick has a traveling identity, so he can’t go see a regular doctor. Remy says she’ll take him somewhere.
Then, she returns, and the rest of the page is (dun dun dunnnh!) a descriptive sex scene.
Did I ever mention the Dome Trilogy is for mature readers? Well, now I have. It’s for mature readers. Sex, tech, and firearms. I think Solaray Dawn‘s Page 69 passed.
The last entry is from the rough draft of pink typewritten pages which makes up ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part. Because it’s going to be a digital-only release, Page 69 will depend on font size and formatting and yadda yadda yadda.
Aw, man. I just missed the feral vampire attack on Page 71! Two pages. Dang it. Page 69 is not so bad, though.
Well, psychic medium Edward Case and psychologist Maggie Glass are in a bar with her friend, Stuart, a woman named Aphrodite, and someone quite surprising. Stuart says that Maggie is jealous of Aphrodite, and criticizes her for using the cliché of tall, dark, and mysterious. Maggie says that psychic ability has been tested again and again, and it’s no better than chance. She believes in frauds, not psychics.
Stuart’s putting the moves on Aphrodite. In a somewhat menacing way, Leon (Who’s Leon?) says he remembers Stuart. Unfazed, Stuart brushes him off and says he’s going to phone the police about Leon’s threatening behavior and get him tossed into 72-hour observation. Leon leaves.
Edward asks Maggie if that was really Leon. She tells someone at the table, “You don’t want Leon. No one wants Leon. He is a bastard in every way you can think of.” They talk about Leon and his family keeping Maggie from her husband’s funeral, and she complains that she wasn’t good enough for any of them except her husband. The last line of Page 69 is Maggie stating, “He was my life, my one true love.”
I think this is closer to a pass than a fail, but it could go either way.
Overall? I think they weren’t too bad. None of my Page 69 excerpts waxes on about the setting. Action and dialogue are part of all four. So, I suppose it really is up to the reader if they want to enjoy the other pages of my books. I appreciate very much that someone is out there buying my books. While I say the absolute truth with a nervous grin (“If I had to rely on my writing as my sole income, I’d be living in a cardboard box”), I am grateful that people are gambling that my novels are good. I am more grateful that the response of individuals directly to me is very positive.
If I could only get them to write their kind praise on Amazon, then I think I could upgrade from a cardboard wardrobe moving box to a cardboard refrigerator box.