Friday, March 30, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Theft of the Daidanna Dankenka Maru
1. An animal trainer, a schoolteacher and an astronaut steal Earth's first starship in order to escape the Earth's pollution and recreate Earth's biosphere on another planet. Also, a suicidal whale.
2. Dundenna Kantawanna momo dinteka wantana. Maima ratwonu titi kenka ma kenku, danna mianta Maru. Also, a vampire.
3. Alex, a two-bit street thief, determines to join the ranks of the master thieves by stealing the Daidanna Dankenka Maru, the most often stolen artifact in the world. Now, he just has to figure out two things: where it is, and what it is.
4. By the time Tony "The Stutterer" Calabrese has finished explaining the intricate details of the heist to his street crew, the cops are on to his scheme and he's on the run. Next time, he'll just rob a bank and forget about the Daidanna Dankenka Maru.
5. Police Chief Jake Martin is having no problem tracking the stolen masterpiece, the Daidanna Dankenka Maru. It's filling out the police report that's so difficult.
6. When a new Virginia class attack sub is christened USS Daidanna Dankenka Maru, some of the higher ups in the Pentagon have a conniption fit. Now it’s up to Black Ops Specialist Trick Lambert to do the one thing more difficult than pronouncing it: steal it, and send it to Davy Jones’ locker. Also, an autistic Chinese deli worker.
Dear Mr. Editor;
Information on the Internet says you like smart, quirky science fiction, and literary writing on environmental issues. Please consider representing my 122,200-word hard/soft/ [Is this a book or a boiled egg?] literary sci-fi novel (think of Kim Stanley Robinson's work), [I tried. I spent ten minutes thinking of Kim Stanley Robinson's work, only to realize I was actually thinking of Spider Robinson; I blame it on you for calling it quirky.] The Theft of the Daidanna Dankenka Maru (DDM), in which learning to talk with orcas drives a scientist, an animal trainer, a schoolteacher and an astronaut to steal earth's first crude attempt at a starship.
2050: After ten years in captivity, Sam, a Sea-World show orca, [realizes he can no longer reach the splash zone. In a fit of depression, he] tries to suicide. His trainer, Zachary Qualar, saves him and takes him home, [Fortunately, Zack drives a 50-foot limo jacked up on earth-mover tires.] to Robson Bight on Vancouver Island. Zack and cetologist Joshua Mason rehabilitate Sam, and hire Native American schoolteacher Amy Blackstone, talented in linguistics, to help decipher his language. Amy has a secret: she's an empath, preternaturally sensitive to others' emotions. She connects, empathically then telepathically, with Sam and his father, A50, his tribe's historian, and together they write a computer program [Just to be sure I've got this straight, the orca's father is named A50, and he's a historian and he helps write a computer program?] that translates Orca to English. [At last they will know what Sam is trying to say. They jack him into the computer system and hear:
Fish again?! Can't you get me a nice tender elephant seal? Tandoori-style. No cilantro, it gives me hives. And would it kill you to spring for HBO so I could watch The Sopranos? Christ, I get sick of Animal Planet. Oh, and one more thing: there aren't any broads in this bight. I'm a mammal, not a fish. Get an orca babe in here fast, 'cause that empath chick is starting to look good to me. And what the hell's a bight, anyway?]
The "Robson Bight Crew" sets up a hospital to treat sick and injured cetaceans. Treating an orca who has miscarried, they learn that the oceans are so polluted the whales can no longer reproduce. Global warming threatens a new ice age, another species goes extinct every hour, and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans threatens nuclear war. [They learn all this while treating an orca that miscarried?] Learning of this, A50 demands their help. Using the translation program, he writes a book exposing the minds and souls of orcas and asking that humans recognize the orcas' right to a tolerable planet. [Unfortunately, he can't interest an agent, and is forced to go with PublishAmerica.] His book is derided as fiction. [Unbelievable. A whale manages to write a book, and the critics pan it.]
Joshua's friend, Jeddidiah Jay, was an astronaut until a jet crash ended his career; now his aerospace engineering firm builds space vehicles and mines the asteroid belt. A sociopathic assassin on call to the CIA sabotages and spies on his company, and corrupt politicians force him to license his spaceship designs to competitors. Then a drunk driver kills his young family. Embittered, Jay plots with his Robson Bight friends to steal the Daidanna Dankenka Maru, earth's first starship, which the government is forcing him to build. He recruits 100 people from among his asteroid miners, and twelve dolphins; they raid a "frozen zoo" for genetic material to recreate earth's biosphere on a new planet, steal the ship, and on Christmas Morning, 2060, leave earth forever. [Some people go into therapy when their lives are going bad; others recruit dolphins and steal a starship.]
I have a degree in Journalism; I've written for and edited magazines and NPR broadcast copy. I spent years researching whales and dolphins and the Kwakwaka' wakw [Anagram of Waka Waka Waka, the noise Pac-Man makes.] natives of British Columbia, because I believe that the best sci-fi does not stray far from reality. My protagonists' motivation is the mass extinction event we humans are currently causing. [Except for Jeddidiah, whose motivation is revenge on The Man.] I am a science junkie, and the chapter-opening newspaper articles with which I detail the destruction of the environment are frighteningly real. [End of query. If I'm still on the fence at this point, the rest isn't going to push me in any direction you're hoping for.] You will love the depth of my characterization, my evocation of setting and emotion. And DDM (my third unpublished book) tells the story of the main plot point of my second, completed and polished sci-fi novel, which [tells the story of the main plot point of my first completed and polished sci-fi novel, which tells the story of the main plot point of Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home.] I will tell you about when you're ready.
Thank you for your time and help, Mr. EE. I hope to hear from you soon.
What whale would name its kid A50?
I've heard of pods and schools. Do whales also come in tribes?
Wouldn't it be better if Sam wrote the book? Sam seems to drop out once they dump him in the bight.
It's too long. Does the query need Sam at all? It could begin with the crew setting up a facility to study whale communication at Robson Bight. We also don't need Jeddidiah's life story.
I don't care if Jay's company is building it; it can't be easy to steal Earth's first starship. Could the head of NASA make off with a space shuttle? Probably not. And a starship is much bigger; heck, the holodeck alone is bigger than a space shuttle.