Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....
In this installment of Page 69,
We put Will Madden's The Killbug Eulogies to the test!
Set up page 69 for us:
Kitt’s father, a champion ragnarite miner, had made enough money to send him on a three-year tour of the galaxy as a teen. Not as affluent as other space tourists or as poor as interstellar vagabonds, Kitt spent the time isolated and alone, studying flora and fauna, missing the homeworld. Having experienced the wonders of nature across countless planets, he returns to find his own desolate and monochrome, his people backward and boorish.
What’s the book about?
The Killbug Eulogies tells of soldiers who grew up together on a mining planet, who now fight giant space insects in a galactic war. The characters’ darkly humorous stories are told in funeral speeches after they’ve been killed in gruesome ways. For instance, when we meet Kitt, he had captured a thorbeetle, which generates electricity through a fission reactor in its abdomen. He was trying to use it to boost the power generator when it impaled him, cooked him from the inside out until he exploded in a shower of ground meat. The mourners at his funeral try not to be distracted by the tempting aroma.
Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what the book is about? Does it align itself with the book’s overall theme?
I think so. In different ways, the characters in this book clash with the rigid values and belief systems of the working class world that produced them. Suspicion meets almost any unique experience the men could use to bolster their chances of survival. When Kitt drags the thorbeetle into camp to rectify a power shortage, he has the satisfaction of menacing the others with a dangerous monster only he has the skill to handle. Buried insecurities and festering resentment have made the soldiers hostile to their own salvation. The page gives a window to the mutual failure of empathy at the root of the problem.
THE KILLBUG EULOGIES