Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"The Long Man"

Steve Englehart is best known for writing for such series as The Avengers, Captain America, and The Fantastic Four (for Marvel) and Batman and The Justice League of America (for DC), and for his novel The Point Man, the first Max August novel.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Long Man, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Long Man is actually pretty representative of what I'm trying to do with this series (which began with The Point Man, also from Tor) - in that I posit a world that is our world, with the one small addition that a few people have mastered the skills of magick - and those skills are actual skills which most anyone COULD learn. So when the subject of zombis arises on page 69, Max August can explain how zombis are made, in plain English (and a little French).
They don't need science; they have art. And lots of uninterrupted time for trying things out. Puffer fish venom's just the main ingredient in a zombi potion. They also use the leaves of the consigné tree and the tcha-tcha bean, both of which slow the rate of the body's functions. That's mixed with leaves from the bresillet tree and bwa pine, maman guepes and mashasha, pois gratter and pomme cajou and calmador, all of which cause severe itching and irritation. That last part's sort of to taste; it's where the artistry comes in. But the zombi master gets some of this potion on his victim, the victim starts scratching, and soon he's opened up a dozen sores. The poisons enter the bloodstream, his energy sinks from brain to body, et voila, as they say in Haiti.
Jason Bourne has arcane skills and knowledge that amaze us, and so does Max; it's just that the skills and the knowledge are in different areas. The thing is, Max has those skills and Bourne's, too, making The Long Man a 21st-century thriller.
Learn more about the book and author at Steve Englehart's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue