Sunday, August 27, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. In this science fiction trilogy, human colonists on the planet known as Harry's Landing conflict with the native inhabitants: telepathic elephants.
2. In this romantic comedy, old flames are rekindled in the bayou, but can Harry's bar--and his newfound love--survive an alligator with a taste for gin?
3. In this literary novel, Harry's apartment is the only place for his and Velma's forbidden love to express itself. But as the cabbage smells from Mrs. Velaski's apartment drift up in a wet cloud through the air conditioning ducts, they choose an alternative.
4. In this slapstick farce, Margot Pestmeyer's apartment is tiny, but the view is worth the $3K a month New York rent. Every evening she pours a glass of wine and watches her neighbor, Harry, attempt to fly from his fire escape, three floors above the dense landscaping across the quad.
5. In this urban novel, when crack dealers invade his building in the projects and threaten to take over the stairways, young Harry makes a stand: this square meter of concrete belongs to him.
6. In this YA tragedy, Harry has called the press, Harry has staged the plane jump, and Harry is not going to let little Mary Sue steal his thunder again, even if that means substituting a knapsack for her parachute.
I hope that you will consider representing my novel "Harry's Landing", a space opera with supernatural elements. Merchant starship captain Chernoi finds that in the covert conflict among humans, aliens and demons on a lost colony world, an outsider's questions can be more dangerous than guns. This is the first book of a trilogy, with #2 [Wilbur's Balcony,] completed and #3 [Carlotta's Veranda,] in progress. It is not under consideration elsewhere.
Captain Chernoi and her crew are dodging trouble at home when they agree to take on Aaron, a passenger to an unknown destination. [Even Chekov would have had trouble navigating to an unknown destination.] [A starship captain agrees to take a passenger somewhere, and doesn't insist on knowing where?]
[Aaron: I need a ride.
Captain: Where to?
Aaron: I can't reveal that information.
Captain: Well, it's highly irregular, but my mother always told me, you can trust a man with tusks and a trunk. You have the con.]
Aaron's homeworld is disputed territory among paranoid human colonists, telepathic elephant-like natives, and an infestation of nightmarish creatures that the colonists call demons. When the colonists refuse to give Chernoi the route-map she needs to guide her ship home, [What?! Blast 'em with a photon torpedo.] she and her crew are drawn into onworld politics. Her willingness to deal with the natives only worsens the colonists' suspicions. [Let me get this straight. They're at home (dodging trouble). They take Aaron to his home planet, where the telepathic elephant men are. And now they can't get back home without a map? Wouldn't their ship log have a record of the route they just took? Couldn't they navigate by the stars? If the colonists have a map, this can't be uncharted space, so a starship should have access to the data on the map.] [I assume this map is three dimensional?]
When Aaron disappears, Chernoi turns to the natives, [They dropped Aaron at his homeworld, why shouldn't he disappear? Why would he continue to hang out on the starship? Why do they care that he disappeared? They were just giving him a ride.] who deliver him to her battered and half-mad. Her ship's psychologist heals him, [A merchant ship has a psychologist?] at the cost of forming a tight psychic bond between them, and learns that the colony leadership has been infiltrated by demons. The conspirators [What conspirators?] try to kill Aaron, then send a demon to possess one of Chernoi's crew. [This paragraph feels like a list of stuff that we don't need to know. Maybe you should jump to the next paragraph (in which case you'll have to change "the demon on board" to "a demon who has infiltrated the ship.")]
Throwing her backing behind the least compromised human leader she can find, Chernoi triggers open conflict groundside while struggling to deal with the demon on board. The loyalist faction emerges on top, [Who are the loyalists loyal to? Who emerges on the bottom? Are the factions human, or is there an elephant man faction? Do telepathic elephant men ever forget?] although Chernoi's pursuit of the chief conspirator is foiled by a massed demon attack. Chernoi finally gets her route-map home, but the situation remains critical, and her sense of responsibility to her new allies will eventually drive her back.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[It may be helpful to know that "Harry's Landing" is the name of the planet.]
At the beginning you say "in the covert conflict among humans, aliens and demons on a lost colony world, an outsider's questions can be more dangerous than guns." Yet later it reads "Chernoi triggers open conflict groundside." So is the conflict covert or open? And it's not clear what "questions can be more dangerous than guns" means; but maybe that won't bother anyone. Does that bother anyone?
Who would name a planet Harry's Landing? Only one person would have the gall: Harry Mudd.