Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall"

Nancy Kress is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy titles, including Dogs, Beggars in Spain, Nothing Human, Probability Space, Stinger, and her bestselling Write Great Fiction series. She is a recipient of the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and John W. Campbell Memorial awards, and her work has been translated into 16 languages.

Kress applied the Page 69 Test to 2012's After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall and reported the following:
Page 69 of After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall – oh dear, oh dear. I usually say in interviews that I don’t write sex scenes, and here is one. Or, rather, a post-sex scene, and of a controversial nature. Not because of what was done, but because of who was doing it, and why. The page is a fierce argument, and not even between the two people who just had sex.

The novella is about survival after a catastrophic, Earth-ravaging event. Twenty-one years later, the survivors and their offspring think they know what happened (they’re wrong). They think they know why only a few of them were preserved in the alien-built “Shell” (wrong again). They are trying to restart the human race, but most of them are infertile from radiation, and they need every possible baby they can get (on this, they’re right). Led by an extraordinary woman named McAllister, they are both stealing infants from the past and trying to desperately to conceive their own. Unfortunately, the desires of the heart and the needs of survival don’t always align.

So page 69 is typical of the book in a few ways: (1) it showcases both human desperation and human practicality, (2) it involves emotional conflict because even people with the same goal may have different ideas of how to reach it, and (3) the scene is carried by Pete, my fifteen-year-old protagonist whom one reviewer called “the most poignant character in SF in a long time.” I loved writing Pete. I hope you will enjoy reading him.
Learn more about the author and her work at Nancy Kress' website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: Dogs.

--Marshal Zeringue