Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Guess the Plot
The Lesser Species
1. Cows have had enough. It's time to knock humans to the bottom of the food chain.
2. Aliens land on earth and refuse to communicate with humans. Strange gases start coming out of their ships, killing any human who comes near them. One scientist realizes the chemicals in the gas are pesticides, and the aliens are carrying tanks full of the stuff to rid the Earth of . . . the lesser species.
3. A man is abducted from Earth by the Galactic Council and put into a zoo with other lesser species. He escapes and rigs the next election so that he becomes Galactic President. But once in power he realizes he'd just as soon have a plate of nachos.
4. Dogs vs. Cats. The final war that will end the debate once and for all.
5. Christof flexed his legs. It was time for the revolution. His army's carapaces gleamed. He was proud of them. So began his war against the lesser species. One day the Earth would again belong to Christof, king of the cockroaches.
6. Biologist Harold Carter is obsessed with the reproduction of the monotremes. He's spent decades in Australia, studying. Meanwhile his wife and children grow increasingly distant. Will he return to soul-crushing suburbia, or stay in Australia with his beloved platypi?
While there’s no doubt we humans are happy to wallow in our own importance, what would happen if we were sent into the galaxy where everyone else regards us as The Lesser Species? [We're already regarded as the lesser species by cats. And, of course, sharks.]
Mistaken for Earth’s leaders, Lucy and Peter are abducted by the Galactic Council as part of an outreach project for lesser species. When they end up at a natural zoo, an unhinged journalist orchestrates their escape and leads the reluctant pair on a quest for excitement. [If the Council wants a couple Earthlings in their zoo, why would they care whether they get Earth's leaders? They ought to go for Penn and Teller or Yo-yo Ma and Tina Turner. Much more entertaining for zoo visitors. Wait, professional wrestlers!] This includes seriously annoying a man who owns a religion, [The best example you can come up with of their quest for excitement is they annoy a guy?] and convincing a group of rebellious programmers to rig the next election. On a parallel quest to find Peter, his fiancée Wendy and her friend Mark spend most of their time in a spaceport security line, with a short stint as the pets of reality show stars. All four meet up at the Council where, despite a horrid press photo and inane campaign speeches, Peter is elected Galactic President.
The Lesser Species accompanies these four travelers as they try—and fail—to make sense of their place in the galaxy. Lucy sets out to raise the bar for the human race, but only manages to raise the bar on her weirdness scale. Mark applies scientific reasoning to all problems, and still loses all of his luggage and one of his shoes. Wendy discovers that big breasts and a winning smile really are tickets into anywhere. [Especially if you ever want to be published.] Peter never learns to duck when the galaxy tosses something unexpected at him. But at the heartwarming conclusion, they realize that relationship drama, hot showers, and nachos are what make life as a Lesser Species not so bad.
A science fiction satire of 73,000 words, The Lesser Species would be appreciated by those who (like me) regret that Douglas Adams can’t add a sixth book to his Hitchhiker Trilogy.
As a computer engineer, I spend most of my time writing about real science, but over the past five years, I’ve added fiction to my repertoire. One of my science fiction stories won a Southwest Writer’s Award.
I’d be pleased to send you my completed manuscript. Thank you for your time.
The tone is right for the type of book. This could get results, but I'm not thrilled by some of the details. For instance, the third paragraph is listy, which is okay, as the plot is finished, but the items in the list aren't especially funny or interesting. Except the breasts, of course. If you could make Lucy's more specific and Mark's less boring it would help. I don't consider it ironic that a guy who applies scientific reasoning to all problems loses luggage and a shoe. Typical absent-minded professor.
The previous paragraph doesn't need the horrid press photo or the waiting in a security line:
On a parallel quest to find Peter, his fiancée Wendy and her friend Mark become celebrities as the pets of galactic reality show stars. All four eventually meet up at the Council where, despite a series of inane campaign speeches, Peter is elected Galactic President.
If you also dump annoying the guy, or replace it with something that is exciting I'd be more excited myself. (Possibly just telling us what they do to annoy him would be enough, if it's funny.)