Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brenda Cooper's "Reading the Wind"

Brenda Cooper is the author of The Silver Ship and the Sea and the co-author of the novel Building Harlequin's Moon, which she wrote with Larry Niven. Her solo and collaborative short fiction has appeared in multiple magazines, including Analog, Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Oceans of the Mind, and The Salal Review.

She applied “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Reading the Wind, and reported the following:
The first full sentence on page 99 is a the last sentence of a journal entry from Joseph’s missing, and maybe dead, father. It reads, “We have fifteen years to get the ship home, and we are wasting the first of them talking to slow humans unwilling to reach their own potential.” This is the beginning of the answer to a mystery that has plagued Joseph all his life.

We then learn this is the last clue available in the journal, and Joseph, the only living being awake on a spaceship flying through stars, floats free. He says, “It felt as if I myself flew between the stars, ship and self indistinguishable one from the other.” This sets up Joseph’s ability to read the Wind of data, to merge with the universe of information in such a way that he later affects the outcome of a battle.

The last half of the page introduces the reader to a heroine from the first book in the series, The Silver Ship and the Sea, who remains important in this book. Joseph has manipulated the world so that he woke before one-eyed Jenna on the starship – so that he could find the journal. And now he has to accept the consequences of making powerful, ruthless Jenna angry with him. So the last sentence on page 99 is “Her voice was sharp as she asked, “What did you do with the time?”

And the reader will have to go on to page 100 to find out.

So Reading the Wind actually passes the Page 99 test pretty well.
Learn more about Reading the Wind at the publisher's website, Brenda Cooper's website, and her LiveJournal.

The Page 99 Test: The Silver Ship and the Sea.

--Marshal Zeringue