Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Zero Sum Game"

SL Huang is an Amazon-bestselling author who justifies her MIT degree by using it to write eccentric mathematical superhero fiction. Her debut novel, Zero Sum Game, is recently out from Tor, and her short fiction has sold to Analog, Nature, and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016. She is also a Hollywood stuntwoman and firearms expert, with credits including Battlestar Galactica and Top Shot.

Huang applied the Page 69 Test to Zero Sum Game and reported the following:
From page 69:
Camarito was barely more than a truck stop, a ramshackle collection of buildings pretending to be a town. The gas station lighting up Main Street tried very hard to be a travel center and almost made it before giving up.
Page 69 is the beginning of a chapter, so has only about two paragraphs. Unlike some of my other chapter beginnings, they’re not nonstop action, but instead start delving into some character backstory. I’d say Zero Sum Game is about half thriller and half characters I want people to fall in love with, so yeah, I think it is representative!
I sat back and watched the night while Rio went inside to pick up some coffees.
This chapter was, in fact, a chapter I had been looking forward to writing since I started the book, because it gives the first deep taste of who the character of Rio is. And I was tremendously excited to get there.

As it turns out, so are all my readers! Rio is everyone’s absolute favorite character. He’s also a psychopath serial killer. This… makes me slightly worried about my readers.

Oh, and did I mention Rio is sort of my main character’s best friend?
I was never quite clear on where the gray ended and the black and white began, but it wasn’t a stretch to put both Rio and me among the condemned...
My main character Cas also kills more people than is strictly polite. But, you know, she sometimes has feelings about it.

Rio is not the greatest influence on her, but they do make a good team when taking down shadowy global organizations, and Cas will threaten to shoot people who are rude to him, even though he doesn’t care one whit. Their relationship with each other stymies the other characters, who see Cas as redeemable—maybe—and Rio as, well, definitely not.

Cas and Rio also have a mysterious backstory together, and the most common question I get from readers so far is “ARE WE GOING TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEM IN THE SEQUELS??”

Yes, readers. Yes, you are.
Visit S. L. Huang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue