Monday, November 26, 2007
Guess the Plot
Blue Screen of Death
1. When weather reporters start turning up dead, Detective Pete Paradiso knows that it's not about their botched forecasts. Can Pete find the killer before perky Suzie Snowflake does her last weather report . . . on the Blue Screen of Death?
2. Vince Malkoff wakes from his daydream to find those IT slackers still haven't fixed his computer. But why do his hands hurt, and where did this bloody, torn Star Trek tee-shirt come from?
3. Theresa has had it. She's caught Jake cheating for the last time. She's going to hit him where it hurts -- she's going to fix his ultrafast gaming computer. That'll teach him for chasing after Gillian.
4. Investigating the death of tech wiz Peter Yuen, Veronica discovers he was at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. The only way to unmask the killer is to complete Peter's project--but if she succeeds she'll bring down the Internet, and then how would she get her email?
5. The end of the world starts with a single blue screen. Then another, then another, then another. As PCs worldwide sizzle and die, Mac users find themselves in the ascendant. But unfortunately a bunch of writers, designers and advertising geeks turn out not to be the best-qualified people to run society.
6. Throughout the world, people have stopped dying. No one is succumbing to anything; not lethal injuries, not terminal illnesses, not even simple natural causes. Religious leaders proclaim this a sign of mankind's imminent transcendence of its mortal bounds, but it takes technogeek-cum-shaman Vishnu O'Halloran to find the real explanation: the Grim Reaper's computer system has crashed.
Dear Evil Editor,
I'm seeking representation for my murder mystery, Blue Screen of Death.
Veronica Avalon's personal hero, Peter Yuen, is found electrocuted in his bathtub. His parents believe it was a freak accident. [He was trying to get a bagel out of the toaster during a thunderstorm.] The police call it suicide. Only tech-savvy Veronica sees the clue that points to murder. [A computer geek committing suicide would never use his toaster; he'd use his terminal. Get it? Terminal?]
When Peter's parents ask Veronica to recover banking information from their son's computer, she discovers that it hosts a pornographic web site--a fact she can't reconcile with her perception of Peter as an idealist. [Hey, what could be more ideal than having your own porn site?] Could his secret site have something to do with his murder? Loyalty and unresolved romantic feelings for Peter drive Veronica past her revulsion to the porn. [I admit some porn is revolting, but if I had a job looking into porn sites I'm pretty sure I could handle it. In fact, I'd be handling it all the time.] She digs into Peter's PC and follows the trail from online vice to the frontier of artificial intelligence research. [When I'm on a porn site, the only trail I follow is from one movie clip to the next. (And if I ever did find myself on a page with AI research, I would hit the "back" button so fast . . .)]
But her sleuthing provokes the murderer to strike again.
Uncertain if she can trust her friends, her boss, or even Peter's parents, Veronica tries to single-handedly unmask the killer. Her talent for debugging translates well into investigation, but the only way to draw him out may be [by employing her talent for disrobing], and to step into Peter's dangerous world [by becoming a porn star]. She moves into his apartment, hijacks his email, and tries to complete his AI project.
If she fails, she may become the next victim.
If she succeeds, her discovery could bring down the Internet and destroy the reputation of the man she loved. [Earlier he was referred to as her personal hero. Did she secretly love him? How did he feel about her? If they were in love, "personal hero" sounds weird.]
This would be my first fiction sale [unless I sell something else first]. I have one professional non-fiction sale for a technical magazine.
Thanks for your consideration.
It's not clear what the porn site has to do with anything. How is it connected to the AI project? Is it impossible to get to the AI site without going through the porn site?
The idea of prudish Veronica having to become a porn star to flesh out the killer's plans appeals to me.
Catchier titles: The Porno Murders; The Good, the Bad and the Geeky; The Case of the Bogus Bagel.
Obviously Veronica's computer savvy, but stepping in and trying to complete a project begun by someone on the frontier of AI research?
Also, I get the impression she was unaware he was on the frontier of AI research until she stumbled on his project. Seems like if he's her personal hero and she loves him she would have a better idea what he's into.
What do you mean by "bring down the Internet"? Literally destroy it? Make it obsolete? Make it so all urls are automatically forwarded to Evil Editor's blog? Wait, that would make the Internet better.