Thursday, April 29, 2010


Michael Stevens is a Silicon Valley insider and a contributor to several high-profile web sites in the technology field.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his first novel, Fortuna, and reported the following:
I think I got at least an B minus. Fortuna is about a computer science grad student at Stanford who gets hooked on an online role-playing game called Fortuna. The game becomes the center of his life to the detriment of everything else: his friends, his grades, his bank account, and ultimately, his chances of staying alive.

On page 69, the hero actually says, “I’m a grad student at Stanford University” (10 points for character definition). He’s shown declining a dinner invitation with dear friends so he can get back online (15 pts for showcasing one of the novel’s central themes). He catalogs the tasks he’s ignored (15 pts for substantiation). He alludes to the “princess” he’s chasing (5 pts for a somewhat vague references to a second major theme, the setting of the game in Renaissance Florence with its parallels to today’s Silicon Valley). He even hears his friend urge him to pay more attention to his rl (“real life”) girlfriend (10 pts).

Missing are any references to the gravity of his situation (organized crime is involved), his obsession with penetrating the cloak of anonymity that protects players, or his complex relationship with his father, whose sudden death nine years earlier is a mystery he’s never been able to resolve….

Hmmm. I think 60 points (out of a possible 69?) isn’t so bad.
Read an excerpt from Fortuna, and learn more about the book and author at Michael Stevens’ website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue