The amazingly accurate random-read test*

*Not found at Amazon

This test rocks

In my former Washington, DC, neighborhood there used to be a little bookstore called Calliope. I used the random-read test there often, and it never failed me.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Read the first paragraph of a book.
  2. Open the book and read another paragraph at random.

If you like what you see in both cases, you will like the book.

If you don’t like either one, forget it.

If you like the first paragraph and not the random one, repeat the test with another random paragraph.

At Rickert & Beagle Books in Pittsburgh (“perfectly strange, strangely perfect”), you can apply the test to my books yourself. But you’d need to be in Pittsburgh and find a place to park.

So here are three of my books, subjected to the random read. I pretended I was back at Calliope.

(Yes, the random paragraphs are truly random. I made no attempt to make myself look good.)

Cel and Anna

First paragraph:

The worst thing about virtual sex in the Middle Machine Age was the bunny suit. Computers and their human assistants were constantly on the verge of a breakthrough, except it never happened. They still hadn’t solved the conundrum of providing whole-body sensation and the illusion of union to people who were, in fact, alone. The bunny suit was made of fine, soft material: no one could feel the sensors and transmitters anymore, or the network of wires. It was easy-on, easy-off, with thin, flexible gloves and a mask made of feather-light mesh. It came in all colors and designs.

Random paragraph:

As she hustled her luggage down the corridor, a few revelers gave her the Stare. It meant, “You are behaving abnormally and don’t tell me why.” Taz let her in without a word. His suitcase, dark and a bit shabby, was as badly packed as hers.

Warning: Something Else Is Happening

First paragraph:

Time as humans perceived it had no meaning to Cel, either before or after he left his machine body and made the jump to Networld. A year was as long as a lifetime. A millisecond was a nice bite-sized bit of time.

Random paragraph:

Lucky, having nothing left to lose, shot off an email asking why he no longer had a job. He did not expect an answer but got one almost at once.

New Sun Rising: Ten Stories

First paragraph:

Cassie Stillwater looked at a photo of her ancestor, Garvis Stillwater. It showed a pleasant-looking, middle-aged man in a frock coat and tie. His eyes were fixed on the middle distance, as if he were beholding something unseen by the camera. “As perhaps you were,” Cassie said to the photo. “No. As you surely were.”

Random paragraph:

While on duty, workers were not allowed to be idle except on designated breaks in designated break rooms. But there was Kedzie, leaning back on her elbows, blowing fluff from a dandelion. It was the most intoxicating hour of his life. He thought he might pass out with the emotions that rolled over him. He admired her spirit and wondered what he could do to cause her pain.





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