Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pg. 69: "The Nymphos of Rocky Flats"

"Felix Gomez went to Iraq a soldier. He came back a vampire."

So opens Mario Acevedo's The Nymphos of Rocky Flats.

I invited Mario to apply the "page 69 test" to the novel.

He sent me the text from page 69 without further preamble or commentary. Which, with a title like that and his crackling prose, makes perfect sense to me:
My consciousness shriveled around the circle of steel where the business end of the pistol barrel pressed into my skin. I couldn't move fast enough to parry the gun without risking a bullet through my skull. Vampires don't fear wooden stakes as much as high-velocity metal-jacketed slugs. Especially to the brain.

My hands still cupped Tamara's head. The yellow aura sparkled over her skin. Her eyes retained that faraway gloss from the hypnosis. Except for her holding a gun to my forehead, I'd assume that she was still under my control.
Many thanks to Mario for the input.

Click here to read enthusiastic praise for the novel from Sarah Weinman, Dick Adler, and others.

Click here to read an excerpt from the novel.

Shari Caudron asked Mario "why he thinks the vampire genre is so popular. His answer?"
Vampires are popular because they are metaphors for creatures who can rise above the banality of modern life. Vampires don't care about credit scores or retirement plans. Plus they always manage to look great in whatever they throw on. Zombies, on the other hand, looks like they sleep in dumpsters.
The screenwriter-director John August says "vampires are the imaginary numbers of modern literature."

Previous "page 69 tests":
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue