Saturday, May 21, 2022

"Mercury Rising"

R.W.W. Greene is based in New Hampshire, USA. He is a frequent panelist at the Boskone Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention in Boston, and his work has seen daylight in Stupefying Stories, Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, and Jersey Devil Press. Greene keeps bees, collects typewriters, and lives with his writer/artist spouse Brenda and two cats. He is a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association of America.

Greene applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Mercury Rising, and reported the following:
Sixty-six, sixty-seven, sixty-eight… Sixty-nine!


Yeah, this test is not going to work on Mercury Rising. Page 69 is a section marker, a mostly blank page containing the twice-body-copy-sized words:


Squeeze Box

January 27, 1976

I suppose some meaning can be made of it. A reader would get the timeframe of the book. ‘Squeezebox’ as one word is slang for an accordion or a concertina. As two words, it's the title of a song by The Who. The lyrics are rife with sexual innuendo. There are no accordions in the book, but neither does Pete Townshend make an appearance.

There are aliens in the book, or at least the fear of them. There is a fair amount of paranoia in there, but it has nothing to do with the Cold War. In fact, there was no Cold War … because of the aliens. No Vietnam War, either, and the Kennedys didn’t die. Cleveland did, though. It might have been aliens, but it also might have been Nixon. Opinions are mixed. The protagonist of the book is pretty sure it was Nixon, mostly because Duke Carlotta, the crime boss he works for said so, and when he and a killer named Prick go to put the squeeze on-

Wait. Squeeze? Maybe this Page 69 thing works better than I thought!
Visit R.W.W. Greene's website.

--Marshal Zeringue