Robinson applied the Page 69 Test to Xom-B, his new novel, and reported the following:
In my new sci-fi thriller, Xom-B, the character of Freeman is a genius with an uncommon mixture of memory, intelligence, creativity and compassion. He lives in a worldwide utopia, but his people once lived as slaves to another race referred to simply as “Master.” A revolution led to freedom from the Masters, but now the world is threatened by a virus, spread through bites, sweeping through the population. The infected are propelled to violence. Freeman searches for a cure, but instead he finds the source—the Masters, intent on reclaiming the world.Learn more about the book and author at Jeremy Robinson's website.
I think Xom-B passes the Page 69 test, but only just. It begins a new chapter and shows us some of the world building that goes on in the earlier part of the novel:As we near our destination, the buildings appear to grow, and not just the color-framed black spears of the Uppers, but the brick buildings of the neighborhood through which we’re running. Based on the language I’ve heard Jimbo employ to describe the Uppers and his desire to reside there, I believe height is somehow attached to status, which might explain why Jimbo’s mood is permanently set to sour. Perhaps it’s the ability to look down on others that insinuates a higher station? I say insinuates because I live in a very simple dwelling, far from the city with just two stories, yet my worth to the Council is quite high. I don’t know why, only that they look at me with admiration and pride that suggests equal status with them, if not elevated. And I’m willing to bet that the Council makes their homes in the tallest buildings of the Uppers.The scene also shows Freeman’s (the narrator) innocence and hints at the mystery of Freeman’s importance.
Page 69 also shows something of the journey aspect to the book:“How much further?” I ask, my voice coming out warbled as each step jounces Jimbo on my back.And finally, Page 69 gives some hints at the menace, tension and pace of the story, but I won’t include an excerpt of that here, because it contains spoilers.
“One point three miles,” Luscious replies with uncommon precision. She must note my surprise because she adds, “I walk this route every day.”
I’m about to say something encouraging—we’re almost there, just another minute, we’re going to make it, something like that—but a very nearby scream turns me around.