Tuesday, May 7, 2013


David Walton won the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award for his debut novel, Terminal Mind.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Quintessence, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Quintessence is representative of one of the three main characters, that of Catherine Parris, a young, independent, aristocrat's daughter who will run away to join a voyage to the end of the world. She has just told her father about a creature she saw... a creature that can turn invisible, walk through walls, and is armed with sharp teeth, pincers, and a scorpion-like tail. Far from frightened, Catherine draws the creature and analyzes it in her characteristically scientific style. Her father, however, is more concerned with her safety:
Father stared at the parchment silently for a long time. He tapped where she had written 'insubstantial'. "You saw Sinclair's beetle?"

"I saw it. This manticore is just as real."

He seemed to come to a decision and stood abruptly. "We'll search the house. Wherever you go, I want Henshawe with you, or one of the other servants. Someone is to sleep with you at all times. If you see it again, or even think you do, scream for help."

"How will you search the house for something invisible?"

"Maybe Sinclair will know." He pointed a finger at Catherine. "But no more experiments. I don't want you luring this thing anywhere near you."

"If I set out more meat, it might come again. You could see it yourself, and we could try to catch it."

"No. That's an order, Catherine. I'll talk to Sinclair, but in the meantime, I want you safe."
It doesn't tell you much about the other main characters, but it does capture the spirit of scientific discovery and sense of wonder that is so central to the book, as well as the danger of uncovering too much.
Learn more about the book and author at David Walton's website.

Writers Read: David Walton.

--Marshal Zeringue