Saturday, September 16, 2006
Guess the Plot
Computer Geeks, Their Hobbies and the Trouble They Get Into
1. A tour through the hell of comic book reading, obssessive-compulsive gaming, blogging and watching the Sci Fi channel.
2. Two geeks plot to gain control of most of the world's computers by posing as equestrian competitors. But was murder part of their plan?
3. A serious study of the twin phenomena of adolescent blindness and digital hirsuteness, this scholarly work is written in a light, one-handed manner.
4. Ricky discovers the key that unlocks the Tomb Raider code to provide an all-naked Lara Croft. Pursued by an army of desperate geeks, he ends up hiding in his aunt Linda's broom closet.
5. Thad, Rit, and Zeke liked radio controlled airplanes, Dungeons & Dragons, and kung fu movies. Detective Dan Rosler never expected such a trio to solve the 20-year-old cold case of Daisy Pilchkin's disappearance.
6. When the BTDR queue unexpectedly causes the CHIOE drive to fraffle the cDH7VY subsystem, leading to an HFID failure, much hilarity ensues. The first novel whose glossary is longer than its plot.
Dear Desired Agent:
I am seeking representation for my completed 80,000-word cozy mystery, “Computer Geeks, Their Hobbies and the Trouble They Get Into”. My novel is set around the year 2000 in Seattle, Washington and explores the possibilities of the sabotage of the UNIX computer operating system. What if there was a fundamental problem with the majority of UNIX-based computers? A flaw built into the code of the UNIX operating system that when exploited has the potential of taking down 80% of the computers that run the world? [Does anyone remember what ran the world in the millenia before computers were invented?]
That’s exactly what Rhys Kadent accomplished when as a program manager assigned to the development of the new version of UNIX in 1989. He recruited a brilliant, but unstable programmer, Iris O’Connell, to encode the backdoor they would need to gain control of any computer running on this version of UNIX. They also needed patience to go through the years it would take to cover their tracks and allow UNIX to proliferate in the public sector of the world’s computers. A gamble that paid off as most major companies used UNIX computers to run all facets of their business. [This is sounding more like a technological thriller than a cozy mystery.]
Deneen Locke, aka Deen, is a UNIX System Administrator whose primary hobby is a combination of horses, horse shows and photography. Her involvement in the plot begins with the death of her friend, Frank Dutton, at a horse show. What seemed to be an accident becomes murder as Deen and her husband Paul uncover one clue after another. [He was killed by a UNIX operating system named HAL.] Their interpretation of the clues as murder is confirmed when John Kreste approaches them and identifies himself as a government agent on the trail of Rhys and Iris as high tech blackmailers. [Rhys and Iris are blackmailers; therefore Frank was murdered. I feel like we're missing a step or two in the logical argument.]
This book will appeal to both technophiles and horse lovers. [And especially those who are both: Equestratechs. These are the people you see using laptops on horseback.] The cover the villains have chosen is international eventing – an extremely demanding equine sport that has competitions around the world. [The computers are all rigged, the whole world is using them, now all we have to do to put our plot into motion is become world-class eventers. How long can that take?] This provides them the opportunity to travel to the network/business centers the world over, triggering their bug to wreak havoc and open the door to blackmail. [It seems like you could make enough from blackmailing a few major corporations, rather than traveling the world hitting eighty percent of the computers.] This is not a book heavy in technical details so non-computer-literate people will understand what’s happening. At the same time it is not immersed in the horse show scene so non-horsey types [I resent being referred to as non-horsey; I'm equine challenged.] will not be bored. [Now I'm starting to think techies and horse people are the only ones the book won't appeal to.] Deen’s initial involvement is through her hobby, but she uncovers the clues because of her job as a UNIX System Administrator. She works to solve the mystery of who killed her friend through both worlds.
Being a professional UNIX geek since 1983, I was amused with the burst bubble that was Y2K. I decided to explore the possibility of real chaos and what better approach than to go after the most secure and virus-proof operating system (what runs the computer) [If it's necessary to explain what an operating system is, you might do so the first time you use the phrase, rather than the last.] in the world?
Deen’s love of horses and all things equine mirrors my own. [Don't you mean "all things horsey?"] I have competed in a variety of competitions at the amateur level for several years. I look forward to sending you my completed 80,000 word Cozy Mystery, [You already told us it was completed and 80,000 words and cozy in the first sentence. You can't afford to repeat yourself; the title alone makes the query too long.] “Computer Geeks, Their Hobbies and The Trouble They Get Into”.
Dear Desired Agent:
Deen Locke is a UNIX System Administrator whose primary hobby is a combination of horses, horse shows and photography. When her friend, Frank Dutton, dies at a horse show, it appears to be an accident. But as Deen and her husband uncover one clue after another, they begin to suspect that Frank was murdered. And when John Kreste approaches them and identifies himself as a government agent on the trail of high tech blackmailers, their suspicions are only strengthened.
Turns out the blackmailers Kreste is after have sabotaged every UNIX-based computer in the world, and are now traveling the international horse show circuit, preparing to spring their diabolical trap. And who better to morph into an amateur detective and bring them down than a horse-obsessed UNIX expert? Can she solve Frank's murder and save the world from a disastrous meltdown, while also saving the UNIX corporation a lot of embarrassment?
Deen’s love of horses and all things equine mirrors my own. I have competed in a variety of competitions at the amateur level for several years. I've also been a UNIX geek since 1983. I look forward to sending you my completed 80,000 word Cozy Mystery, Computer Geeks, Their Hobbies and The Trouble They Get Into.
If you're selling this as a cozy mystery, you don't want to start out with two paragraphs about computers. Get to your sleuth, and stick with her, as I would advise you to do in the book as well.
The revised version is a little short, but it lacks the connection between the murder and the UNIX villains. Are they suspects in Frank's murder? If so, why? Who was Frank to them?
The title is comedic. And while cozy mysteries are often amusing, you haven't shown that this is at all funny. Maybe the title should go.