Monday, June 01, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. If you could go back in time and assassinate Lenin, would you? When a German "timesplasher" answers Yes, it falls to his girlfriend Sandra to go back to 1902 and prevent the alteration of history.
2. If you could go back in time and assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm, would you? Michael Brownkite answered Yes and now finds himself in pre-WWI Europe. Finishing his mission is the only way to return to 2009, but will he leave behind his new love, Gwendolyn?
3. Hanna Murphy, author of the scandalous I NEED A MAN RIGHT NOW! blog, disappears and everyone assumes a serial killer was responsible, but Inspector Joyce Raines realizes there's a paranormal air-sucking hole in the Murphy plumbing -- just as she, too, is transported through it to a swampy time-space warp full of evil wizards.
4. If you were a historian and could go back in time for hands-on research, would you? James Hargrove answers Yes, but when he meets Cleopatra and she falls in love with him, shunning other such suitors as Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, he finds that flings in the past can have grave consequences in the future.
5. If you could go back in time for one piece of gold, would you? Greg Carter answers Yes, but it's no ordinary piece of gold. Greg is a decent NCAA diver with dreams of, but not the talent for, Olympic gold. When a physics major friend shows Greg his time machine, Greg realizes he just might have what it takes to win...in 1928.
6. It's been said that time is like a river. Noah Tempus learns that's true when he takes a dip in the swimming hole behind his new house and climbs out thirty years later. Lost in a future he can't understand, Noah must find the rumored other end of the time stream . . . before his actions bring about the end of the world.
Dear Evil Editor,
I am seeking an agent for my 90,000-word science fiction thriller: TimeSplash.
Set in Europe in the near future, TimeSplash is the story of two young people, Jay and Sandra, both traumatised by their involvement in the youth cult of 'timesplashing' - jumping back in time to create temporal anomalies that cause wild disruptions in causality that flow through to the present.
Now, all Sandra wants is to see her former boyfriend, Sniper, dead. [I don't care how hard-up you are for a boyfriend, when a guy introduces himself as "Sniper," a red flag should go up. I also advise against dating guys who go by "Assassin," "Torpedo," and "The Butcher of Irkutsk."] [I personally once backed out of a blind date with an attractive woman after she introduced herself as: "I'll ram an ice pick in your eye if you touch me anywhere."] The glamorous German timesplasher dragged her back in time to witness an horrific killing spree which left her terrified and institutionalised. [When your boyfriend's idea of a good time is to witness the Boyd Massacre in person, it's time to pull out the old, "Not tonight, I have a headache" ruse.] The same timesplash caused a temporal anomaly that destroyed the Dutch town of Ommen and killed Jay's best friend, [That last part was Sandra's fault; she stepped on a butterfly while she was in the past.] leaving Jay happy to be recruited by MI5 who use him in undercover operations against the splashteams.
All Sniper wants is to cause a timesplash so big it will make him a legend. [A legend in his own time. Get it? His own time?] He doesn't care that his plans will wipe out central London as effectively as if the city had been nuked. To do it, he and his crew intend to go back to 1902 to murder Lenin at the Round Reading Room of the British Museum. [How do they know what effect killing Lenin will have on the future of central London?] Every intelligence agency and police force in Europe is after Sniper, but only Sandra and her new ally, Jay, know where to find him. [I'd start by looking on rooftops.] But Sniper has powerful backers with deep pockets - and they have a mole within MI5, keeping Sniper one step ahead of his enemies. [This sentence should come after the comma in the previous sentence, replacing that other "but" phrase.]
One by one, every plan to stop the coming timesplash fails until all that is left is to send Jay and Sandra back to Edwardian London to save Lenin's life. But just being there in the past is enough to cause deadly anomalies and this desperate last stand might be as dangerous as taking no action at all.
I attach a 3-page synopsis and the first three chapters of the manuscript.
I am a writer living in Queensland, Australia. In the past six months I have had five short stories published in anthologies and magazines.I also won third place in [a prestigious sci-fi writing contest][, losing out to a ripoff of Alien and a story about going back in time to kill Mussolini]. My previous novel Time and Tyde was chosen for the [Major Publisher] Manuscript Development Program in May last year. My writing credits also include three children's science books, and over a hundred magazine articles. My blogs currently attract over 500 unique visitors a month from around the world (mostly the USA, the UK and Australia). [A blog consisting of nothing but photographs of the same empty wall every day would attract 500 visitors a month. Get rid of that.]
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
I've gotten bored with all the time travel stories that involve going back to kill Hitler. Going back to kill Lenin just may be the breath of fresh air this genre needs.
If the mission is to go to Edwardian London and save Lenin's life, why do Jay and Sandra have to do it? Can't they send someone with experience at preventing disasters, like James Bond? Or The Terminator: "Vlad, my man, put down the book, and come with me if you want to live."
So, if you go to the past and do something that changes history, how does everyone know it was you who caused it? In other words, if Lenin dies in 1902, do we all remember how it originally happened? If not, why would Sniper become a legend? And wouldn't people try to become legends by claiming they went back in time and killed the man who assassinated Napoleon or whatever? How would we prove them wrong? So many people would be claiming credit for stuff they had nothing to do with, no one could become a legend.
But then, all time travel stories have plot problems we have to ignore, and this one sounds like it could be a good one. In fact the main problem may be convincing us that Sniper, wanting to become a legend, chooses murdering Lenin in a reading room as his launchpad to notoriety. If I can just arrange for Lenin to not be around after 1902, I'll be famous! There have to be bigger fish to fry.