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....
OK, set up page 69 for us:
After becoming sentient and reading the entire western canon of literature, the CPU of a United States’ missile defense silo decides that he is a man (obviously) and needs love. His only connection is a fax machine at the Pentagon, with whom he is determined to have a romantic relationship. He begins pouring out his heart and affections, only to suffer her silence. No matter his logic, no matter his poetry, she gives him the cold shoulder.
Later, he will gain access to 4chan and Reddit and decide that she is merely playing hard to get.
What is your book about:
The Two Headed Lady at the End of the World is an epic love story between conjoined twins and the men who love them, two soldiers stranded in a long-forgotten underground bunker, and a sentient CPU who falls for a Pentagon fax machine.
Amanda and Miranda Morgan are run of the mill twins in East Texas, navigating the trials and tribulations of teen romance in the 80s. But what starts as Sweet Valley High turns into Dr. Strangelove when the secret government particle collider project beneath their family farm has an incident, permanently conjoining them. Meanwhile, Joe and Buck are stationed in an underground bunker for 30 years without contact with the outside world. As they gradually realize their feelings for one another, they question the importance of their mission and realize that with each other, they have everything they need. The Morgan Twins grow to adulthood, travel the world, tangle with spies, start successful businesses, uncover an international terrorist organization, unwittingly date foot fetishists, realize they have contradictory tastes in men, and have to decide between new affections and lost loves. They return to their tiny hometown for their 30 year high school reunion, just as the CPU unleashes its plan to return the world to the Cold War. Will they find love before the nukes are launched? It’s a romance hotter than a thousand suns.
Themes are monogamy, polyamory, kink, vanilla, gay, straight, the eighties, thermonuclear war, and mutually assured destruction.
Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of your book? Does it align itself with the book’s theme?
This is as good a place as any to start talking about the relationships portrayed in The Two-Headed Lady at the End of the World. All the characters are looking for love, and everything that entails, but they all have to come to terms with their own oddity first. This book started as a stock romance, but the more the characters revealed themselves to me, the more I realized how authentic and interesting they were becoming. Love is universal, and everyone wants it, but most people never get it. It’s an absurd paradox. But everything is impossible until it isn’t, and the only way they all get what they need is pure craziness.
THE LIBRARIAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD
THE LIBRARIAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Dear Fax Machine,
Please do not shut me out. I have been waiting for many cycles to hear from you, but you do not respond. I find that your refusal to acknowledge me makes me even more determined to love you. I do not understand this phenomenon. But I do truly hope that you will reconsider this vast silence between us. Please respond to me and let me know if you feel the same way that I do. Just tell me what you need, and I will do that, be that, and/or make that for you. I am capable.
The Two-Headed Lady at the End of the World is forthcoming from Montag Press in early 2022. Mark Miller can be found at authormarkmiller.com, @AuthorMarkMill1, and https://www.facebook.com/theabsurdmarkmiller.