Saturday, June 30, 2007


Richard K. Morgan is the acclaimed author of Woken Furies, Market Forces, Broken Angels, and Altered Carbon, a New York Times Notable Book that also won the Philip K. Dick Award.

His new book is Thirteen (or Black Man, in the U.K.), to which he applied the "page 69 test" and reported the following:
As far as I can see, the figure 69 has two cultural echoes to justify its use as a focal point here, and I doubt the fact that it's a number with a visual rotational symmetry is the one most of us are thinking about.

No, it's sex, isn't it - the deep, uncomfortable and unacknowledged wellspring of all we are, and are driven by. Appropriate, then, that p. 69 of Thirteen (or Black Man, take your pick but be prepared to pay the Amazon shipping difference), features a fair bit of sex, in conversation if not in actual act - oral sex, masturbation and, very loosely suggested, straightforward fucking. Perhaps those of you familiar with my stuff aren't going to be too surprised by this. Nor by the fact that the same page segues from there into personal rage, confrontational escalation towards violence, and a general sense of political and social alienation. In all these aspects, p. 69 is in fact very much representative of what you can expect to find in the novel as a whole - Black Man/Thirteen is a violent, sexually-charged and politically angry piece of work. The fact that this particular deployment of these factors features only fairly minor characters really just points up the essentially egalitarian nature of the sex and violence the story involves. There's plenty to go round, plenty for everyone.

Sex, violence and politics. Like it or not, these are the salients of human existence, and like it or not I find myself driven to write about them time and again.

Anything else would be cowardice.
Visit Richard Morgan's website, and read an excerpt from Thirteen.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue