Thursday, September 06, 2007
Guess the Plot
Welcome to Midpoint
1. Fred the Grasshopper is in a large room. Every time he leaps, he covers half the distance remaining to the other side. Can he cross the room and save little Polly Cricket before an infinite amount of time passes?
2. It's the place where all the trains leaving Whereverville at 10:55 AM traveling 65 mph and the trains leaving Nowhereville at 11:23 AM traveling 68 mph meet at 12:13 PM. It's also where a bunch of zombies stand around waiting for fresh brains to arrive. Welcome to Midpoint.
3. Midpoint, the domed city, home of the last purebreds. In a galaxy where the human race is slowly disappearing in the gene pool, Midpoint fights to remain genetically pure and free from alien influence.
4. Entrepreneur Chase Bucks proves that location is everything as he sets up a thriving business at the exact midpoint of the Iron Man Triathlon, tempting athletes and spectators alike with energy drinks and specialty coffees.
5. Tired of his menial job on Earth, Lance sets out for Midpoint, a space station located exactly halfway between Earth and Mars, where he hopes for a better life. As it turns out, the only job available is dishwasher.
6. In the 22nd Century, everyone knows the date of their death as well as they know their birth date. No longer afraid to plan for the future, people routinely celebrate their Midpoint with a huge party. But five-year-old Joey isn't enjoying his.
Dear Evil Editor
At 65,000 words, "Welcome to Midpoint" is a Science Fiction novel with elements of mystery and humor. While it lovingly mocks elements of classic juvenile sci-fi, it is intended for a mature audience. [Artemis Fowl 6: The Orgy Masters of Jupiter]
To fulfill his dream of escaping minimum wage jobs in Indiana, Lance Devlin signs an employment contract for Midpoint Station, a refueling outpost that positions itself equidistant from the Earth and Mars. [Sometimes Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the sun. At these times the midpoint between them would be so close to the sun it would melt, and a point equidistant but on the orbit between them would be so far from either planet as to render the refueling station worthless. Also, Mars moves about 54,000 mph, and it takes about four months to get from Midpoint to Mars. So when leaving Midpoint for Mars, you wouldn't want Midpoint to be directly between Earth and Mars; you'd want it to be a couple hundred million miles ahead of Mars so that you can take the shortest line to the Martian orbit and arrive just as Mars does. Or am I wrong?] He arrives at Midpoint to find the station is obsolete, falling apart and staffed by criminals and misfits. Then he learns his new space job: dishwasher. [The good thing about being a dishwasher in outer space is that when you drop a dish it doesn't fall on the floor. The bad part is the water won't stay in the sink. I know it's bad for the solar system's environment, but I think I'd go with paper plates.]
In addition to the station's other problems, there are almost no women. [Midpoint: the Alaska of refueling stations.] Lance falls for the station's Communications Officer, but despite her being easy, she shows no interest in a lowly dishwasher. [Not when there are criminals and misfits to be had.] Though he has no chance, Lance manages to repeatedly make a fool of himself over her.
Lance does not stay a dishwasher for long. Todd, the station security chief and Lance's high school classmate, promotes Lance to junior security officer in an attempt to fix him up with Todd's high school sweetheart, Janice, who he has recently dumped, as the lower two thirds of his body is cybernetic. [That's why he dumped her?
Lance: I gotta let you go, babe.
Janice: But . . . Why?
Lance: I'm self conscious about the bottom half of my body being a machine.
Janice: Listen, pal, the bottom half of your body is the only reason I didn't dump you six years ago.]
Before Lance settles in as Todd's assistant, Todd dies in what, at first, seems be a recycling accident, [That's the trouble with taking your glass and newspapers to an automated recycling center when two thirds of your body is cybernetic: the sorting machine thinks you're a humongous aluminum can.] but turns out to be murder. To appease and hopefully woo Janice, Lance must solve Todd's murder with the station owner breathing down his neck [A person owns this place?] for a quick resolution, an executive officer bent on locking up Lance in his own brig, and his shifty friends from the station cafeteria trying to help him with his investigation, while helping themselves to the privileges of his position.
As he begins to uncover the mystery, Lance suspects Todd's murder was more than just a random act of violence, and the closer he gets the more dangerous the investigation becomes. Of course, if he's lucky, he may also get the girl… or the other girl.
Thank you for your time.
Either you don't need a refueling station in space because fuel isn't needed much once you get going, or you do need one, in which case it's hard to believe the place would be obsolete and staffed by criminals and misfits. Who's in charge here, Haliburton? Maybe it should be a bordello.
If I owned a refueling station halfway between Mars and Earth, I wouldn't be there, breathing down the neck of the ex-dishwasher. I'd be lying on a beach in Tahiti or in my pleasure dome near Cydonia Mensae.
It sounds funny. If you describe it as a comedy set in space you don't need to worry about the science, but since you call it a Science Fiction novel with elements of mystery and humor, your audience will want the science to be accurate--and it may be, I'm no expert, but with Earth and Mars moving at different speeds, getting an obsolete station to stay equidistant is asking a lot, and as I said earlier, it doesn't seem like staying at the midpoint is best anyway.
I'd drop the paragraph about the communications officer (and, therefore, the words "or the other girl"); there's more plot here than we need, and that's the easiest part to do without.