He applied the “Page 69 Test” to Engines of the Broken World, his first novel, and reported the following:
I could have been lucky with this challenge; my book isn’t very long, so we’re already into the meat of it by page 69. But that exact page? Not so much. We’re in the middle of something: four people are talking, something horrible has happened, but we’ve come in too late to see exactly what, and one page doesn’t carry us out of the scene either. We’ve got bad news: “In a few days, every one of us was going to die, or vanish into something that wasn’t, into a cold and dead fog.” But there’s nothing to suggest why that could be happening. We’ve got a grim situation with a woman who’s in very bad shape, but we miss hearing out what that shape is. So the overall book we don’t get too much of. But we do get something of the characters: Merciful’s desire to act like a woman grown, and her endless curiosity even when it’s a bad idea; Gospel’s meanness; and the essential goodness of the Minister, tempered by one mention of how it was listening in, like it’s always listening. So does page 69 work to tell you the story of the novel? Not really. Would it keep you reading, though? Well. It should, even if only because of all that it hints at. But as the author, it’s very hard to judge, isn’t it?Visit Jason Vanhee's blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.