Page 99 favourites

by stephenpalmersf

A few months ago I put up three of my page 99’s on Page99Test.com. The idea of the website is to let readers read the 99th page from a novel and see if they like it. Would they turn the page…?

Below, I’ve put my favourite four responses from Hallucinating, Urbis Morpheos and Muezzinland. What really came out was how much non-SF people don’t like “funny names.” Particularly interesting to me were the comments on the character names in Muezzinland, most of which follow African norms and aren’t “funny” at all…

Perhaps in my next book the characters will be called John Smith and Jane Smith…

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I’d turn the page just because this is so bizarre! There’s lots of telling – too much, I think – but the plot is original enough to intrigue me. So far I’m guessing at a kind of Rasta Riddley Walker? (Hallucinating)

Good, descriptive writing but only useful if it could be applied to a less confused and incomprehensible story line. Or am I getting old? (Hallucinating)

Maybe this is just an awkward page to come into a story on or maybe I’m just tired. I don’t think I understood any of what’s happening. So now I’m curious. Gah! (Hallucinating)

No interest in Sci–Fi, but this caught my attention nonetheless. (Hallucinating)

One unpronounceable name per book, please. Names like these (and so many!) make me run the other way. Sorry. (Urbis Morpheos)

Good heavens. J.R.R. Tolkien meets Dr. Phil and has love child Dan Brown! (Urbis Morpheos)

I have no idea what’s going on here, but it is interesting. The writing style is fascinating I think, and so are the names (although I could see the names becoming a bit off–putting for some). However, it is an interesting page. Well done. (Urbis Morpheos)

I am turning this page because the word ‘dirigible’ appears in it. Unless the word appears in every page of the book, I will not buy it. (Urbis Morpheos)

I found it hard to read, mostly because of the unusual names. I expect if I’d started at the beginning and got to know these characters, that wouldn’t be so much of a problem. (Muezzinland)

Names and names of places uncomfortable to read. (Muezzinland)

Why do fantasy novels have hard–to–read names? Tolkien gave us a glossary, but “Gandolph” [sic] and Strider were memorable and easy names. Here, the plot – taking over the world –– isn’t enough to make me care about this particular world. Maybe if I’d been hooked from page one… (Muezzinland)

Funny-name overload. Even with a 98-page run-up, this is still an awful lot of made-up words crammed onto one page. Other than that, the writing seems good enough, but (as with much sci-fi) the urge to include as many foreign or alien names as possible in a short space is off-putting. (Muezzinland)

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