Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Face-Lift 1291


Guess the Plot

Trinity

1. On a near-future Earth, one man must locate the three coins that fit into an ancient amulet, thereby acquiring the power needed to prevent the demon Ezerkial from stripping him of his title. Also, a cranky witch.

2. Sixteen-year-old Trinity is the daughter of the Queen of the Faeries, the Emperor of the Elves and the kitchen boy of the Tuatha de Danann. (Magic was involved.) Thanks to that same spell, only she can save the world when the 2,500-year-old Irish planetary shield develops a hole and aliens land in Nairobi.

3. Set at White Sands during the Manhattan Project, "Trinity" tells the forbidden love story of Dr Bill Overton and his assistant, Josef Makelshmidt.

4. Deter Brule gets a full ride music/dance/theater scholarship to Trinity College. When his impersonation of a celebrity for the ceremonial first pitch brings a record turnout for the season, the college starts using him for other events. College football will never be the same. 

5. Triplets Lee, Lei, and Lae hate being referred to as the unholy trinity--arson, blackmail, and counterfeiting are normal for kids their age. Then Lei is bitten by a vampire, Lae is bitten by a werewolf, and Lee is abducted by cultists thinking he's Bruce Lee incarnate. Poor cultists.

6. Fifteen-year-old Silvia is invited to the Mardi Gras masquerade party at the mansion on Basquem Hill, but she has measles. She goes anyway, with only a pillowcase on her head and a white sheet over her scanty pink nightie. But three of the partiers aren't disguised--the new owners: Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. Ever seen a vampire with measles?

7. This groundbreaking mashup of Roman Catholic theology and classic humor opens with the Supreme Being, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit walking into a bar. Hilarity and epiphanies ensue.

8. Trinity is the last of a hermaphroditic race that were male, female, and the rare bemale. When a genetic-cleaansing robotic horde target him/her/gim, Trinity must find the tri-gem to restore order to the galaxy.




Original Version

Dear The Agent to Be Named Later

Dragons have emerged from seemingly nowhere. Witchcraft has become mainstream. [Those two sentences aren't needed. Having looked ahead and seen that you have two characters who are dragonslayers and one who's a witch, I can infer that dragons and witches exist in this time and place.]  Louden Ellery, Dragonslayer, rushes to help out a fellow slayer only to find he’s too late. Instead, he stumbles across an ancient amulet created to balance Light and Dark energies on Earth. [We don't need to know what he was doing when he found the amulet. Possibly we don't need to be told he's a Dragonslayer either, as this gives the impression we're in King Arthur's time, when dragons existed, rather than (having looked ahead) the near future.] Suddenly, a man of little faith finds himself the terrestrial Guardian of Yahweh’s and Satan’s power. [I note that we're capitalizing a lot of words that normally don't need it (light, dark, dragonslayer--but not slayer--, guardian. If this is just the Tip of the Iceberg, it'll get Annoying.]

The amulet’s power, however, is fractured. Three coins, [one] each provided by Yahweh, Satan and the Garden of Eden, respectively are missing. The amulet’s power and thus Louden’s will only be complete when all three coins have been returned to the amulet. Aided by a mysterious priest and a cranky witch, Louden begins a quest to find the coins before a group of murdering satanists and a demon, Ezerkial, with aspirations of world domination strip him of his title, a lifelong obligation. [I assume by "his title" you mean Guardian of Yahweh's and Satan's Power? Why isn't it Guardian of Yahweh's and Satan's and the Garden of Eden's Power? Not that I was crazy about the Garden being one of the providers of coins, but it was, so it should be given credit.] [Not clear what you mean by "strip him of his title." How come satanists have the power to strip the Guardian of his title? As they're "murdering" satanists, why don't they just murder Louden and take the amulet?]

Trinity is a hero’s journey set in the near future, chronicling Louden as he learns to control his new powers [His powers aren't complete without the coins, so what are these new powers he has right now?] and stop Ezerkial. It is my first novel. I have previously published a bi-monthly column and feature articles for a craft beverage periodical. [No need to tell us this, but since you did, I accept payment for services rendered in Samuel Adams Winter Lager.] [Also, lay off the suds when composing your revised version.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

Somewhere on Earth there are three coins that fit into this amulet, and he's supposed to find them? I'm worried that whoever had them accidentally used them in a vending machine.

I take it whoever previously had the lifelong obligation of guarding Satan's and Yahweh's power died? You'd think there'd be a system in place for that situation instead of the job going to whichever person stumbles across the amulet. Were the coins missing from the amulet when the previous Guardian had it? If so, why didn't Ezerkial make his move then? If not, how did they go missing?

If dragons emerged in the near future, and they needed slaying, I doubt the job would go to individual dragonslayers. We have more effective weapons than Sir Lancelot had. Or did you fail to mention that witches made all the weapons except lances and swords disappear?

I think we need to know what will happen if Ellery returns the coins to the amulet, and what will happen if he doesn't. We know his powers will be complete if he does and his title will be stripped if he doesn't, but that's pretty vague. If the coins aren't returned, does Satan have an advantage over Yahweh? Seems like it should affect both of them the same.

No need to answer all my questions, but perhaps you can clear up a few points so I don't ask as many questions.

Ezerkial sounds like you misspelled Ezekiel. As you use the real names Satan and Yahweh, why not Google a list of real demon names and choose one?

Out of curiosity, is the title "trinity" Yahweh/Satan/Garden or Ellery/priest/witch or the three coins?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Evil Editor Film Noir Marathon


Having noticed that many TV networks are running marathons of such shows as Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone, etc. this week, I'm jumping on the bandwagon with a marathon of some of the Film Noirs that appeared here over the years. This isn't all of them, but it may be more than you can stomach.



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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas


Below are some of the funnier Christmas-related fake plots that have appeared in the Guess the Plot feature over the years. Mixed in are seven that turned out to be actual plots of minions' novels. Can you remember/guess which ones?


1. When “undocumented worker” Carlos Cruz shows up at the day labor pool on Christmas Eve, the only guy offering work is a pequeno duende with bells on his shoes. Driving the sleigh is no problem, but will Christmas be ruined when Carlos has to take a leak at 30,000 feet? The kid who asked for the jar of marbles will probably think so.

2. While following yonder star, the three wise men find themselves in Rome. Lost and confused, they must depend on a senile mapmaker to get them back on their path to destiny.

3. Charlotte has a thing for holidays. She poisoned the marshmallow chicks in her first husband's Easter basket, strangled her second husband with the ribbon from the Valentine's Day chocolate box, and suffocated her third with the helium balloons at his own birthday party. Now, as Christmas approaches, hubby #4 wonders why that package under the tree is ticking.

4. Every year, Carrie's creepy boss has groped and French-kissed her at the office holiday party. With the antidote in her hip pocket, she waits near the mistletoe and keeps her tongue away from her poisoned lipstick. By this time next year, she'll be the VP doing the groping.

5. Christmas at the estate of Lord Ajax was supposed to be the climax of this year's social season-- and the moment Lord Ajax proposes to her. But Clarissa discovers she is not to be the recipient of a marriage proposal, when she discovers her Ajax under the mistletoe, locked in the embrace of . . . her brother.

6. It's Christmas, and Christine has no one to spend it with--until she gets drawn into an international drug conspiracy by hunky doctor David McLeod. Now that she's found true love, can she stay alive long enough to enjoy it? Also, Johnny Cash.

7. What started as an innocent kiss at the Devorson’s posh Christmas party turns into an obsession that leaves a trail of bodies from New York to Nevada. Beautiful detective Mary Sky must find the X-mas Killer, following the clues he leaves her, before Christmas rolls around again and his knife finds her under the Mistletoe.

8. Kelly Coosman volunteered to work the kissing booth for the parish Christmas Gala…it was the least she could do after Father McElroy rescued her from the streets of Chicago. But she’s been on her feet for fourteen hours straight, smooching hundreds of nicotine-fouled old men with rotten yellow teeth, and she's thinking prostitution wasn't so bad after all.

9. Confident his parents won't be getting him a Christmas present, Nate runs away from home and moves into Wal-Mart. When a night security guard finds him and realizes he's the missing boy she read about in the newspaper, she sets up a tent, gets Nate a sleeping bag, and helps him set up a household. Hey, the place gets lonely at night.

10. Nerdish Ferdinand Turnbull postpones his search for his father in order to pimp for all the hos in Bethlehem.

11. Time traveler Giovanni intercepts the Magi outside of Bethlehem and replaces the frankincense with sensimilla, dooming Jesus to be forever pictured as a long-haired hippie.

12. A guy who pees on her boots. A porn-obsessed crybaby. A cheese thief. Sofia always seems to end up with losers. Her latest boyfriend has just given her her Christmas present: a crummy loaf of bread! Is this the final straw? Or is this what she gets for moving to LA? 

13. Something sinister is afoot when the insurance office does its Secret Santa drawing and everyone draws Lucretia's name. Lucretia gets 35 gifts -- and a bullet in the head. Only mailroom boy Clark Cooper can both solve the mystery and deal with the Returns office at Macy's.

14. Sunol, California, 1998. Jeff Dunley and Mark Morris are engaged in an all-out, take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred war between their rival Christmas Tree farms.

15. The true story of what happened that fateful night when three rich, swarthy, lost travelers asked for directions to the stable, but could not speak Italian.

16. Papa regrets telling the Santa Claus at Macy's what he REALLY wants for Christmas . . . when he discovers Santa is really an undercover vice squad cop.

17. Christmastime, gentle snow falls, merry Santas, bludgeoned girls whose hair falls over their crushed skulls like strands of silver . . . it's just another day for Rudolph.

18. Secret Santa is all fun and games, until Hayley opens her package and finds a human hand. Should she report it to the cops or investigate herself? How hard can it be to spot someone who's missing a hand?

19. At Christmas, Mandi and Daniel each make great sacrifices in hopes of providing the other with happiness. Will their sacrifices tragically render their gifts useless? Or will a robot MAGIcally save the day with his Deus ex Machina appearance?

20. When the scarves Aya is knitting for Christmas presents start to fray, so does her mind - convincing her doctor that knitting and mental illness are linked. Can he prove it in time to save his wife, a knittaholic?

21. Abandoning his family on Christmas day is the only decent thing Jeffrey's done for them in years. At least he didn't take all the presents with him.

22. When Mark messes up his solo in the Christmas musical, his dad is so upset with him he crashes the family car into a gasoline tanker truck on a foggy bridge while driving home.

23. Bob's trip to the toy store to get little Timmy something for Christmas turns into an epic battle of good vs evil when the evil elf running the cash register slips him the magic kaleidoscope he stole from Wizard Ferkle, who is desperate to retrieve it before the Dark Threesome can get their grubby hands on it.

24. As a nonogenarian wraps Christmas gifts for each of her relatives, she reflects on things they and others have done to annoy her over the course of her long life.

25. Sick of his stressful job guarding a labyrinth, the Minotaur applies for a position pulling a sleigh. Can the taurine recluse learn to be jolly and get the job before Theseus finds him?


Answers below.



The actual plots are:

6, 9, 10, 12, 19, 21,  22

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cartoons for Nerds


In an effort to get a book nominated in the best humor publication category of the Eisner Awards, and thereby have an excuse to attend next year's ComicCon in San Diego, I've created a book titled Cartoons for Nerds (and Geeks), which includes the funniest of the cartoons from this blog that have a fantasy, science fiction, horror, superhero, science/technology theme. If you've been coming here for ten years you've seen these, although about twenty-five of them have been given new captions to fit the book's theme. Here's the cover:



I had them convert it to an ebook formatted for an iPad, but it can also be viewed on your computer, though you may have to click "view" and zoom out to get it the right size for your screen. If you buy it at Evil Editor's bookstore ($1.99, link in sidebar), I'll not only send you the code that allows you to read it, but I'll also send you the code for Evil Editor's History of the World in Tweets.

I also had a few copies printed, as I need one to submit to the contest. Like the EE comic strip collections, it's printed in color, but unlike the EE comic strip collections, which are printed on coated photo paper and are 8 by 10, this book is trade paperback size (6 by 9) on uncoated paper, and thus more affordable. By which I mean $12.99 including shipping to US addresses. Supplies are limited.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Face-Lift 1290


Guess the Plot

The Azemeon

1. When the world wavers on the brink of Ambigetton ... er, Arbategon ... er, Armageddon, a new hero emerges. She is a wonder of a woman, a powerful Amazamalon ... er, Azumaloom ... er, Azemeon ... she's just really tall.

2. In a world with magic and time travel, the fate of Earth lies in the hands of one teenager, as usual. But this teen has one big advantage, a gem that confers the power to read minds--a gem known as . . . The Azemeon! Or maybe it's the bad guy who has it.

 3. A scientist uploads the brain of Isaac Azimov into new world order robots which then fuse into the Singularity. It sends a clone of Mila Kunis back in time to improve the gene pool. Unfortunately, she ends up in an alternate history line on an island with Lon Chaney.

4. The voices of young spelling bee contestants are stolen by Dyslexia, the goddess of Sedsdog, and thrown into the labyrinth. Young stutterer Jason Petre-Piper must brave the dangers of the prison to save his friends as the Minute-tar slowly fills up the corridors. They must struggle without the aid of language in order to escape the Azemeon or die.

5. After the murder of Maya--the love of his life—total physics nerd Fred Azem creates a new device, the Azemeon, to convert aliens into porcupines. He solicits help from the more than five thousand members of the American Pawnbrokers Association. Still, two problems remain: the aliens have morphed into vampires and are set on sucking all pawnbrokers' blood; while Priscilla, the world's most influential porcupine, is dead set against aliens clogging up pure porcupine blood lines and she hires Borgo to disembowel Fred.

6. The jungle is a scary place, especially if your habitat is a water droplet left out during a total eclipse on the altar of a forgotten temple. At any rate, mutant-virus-infected zombie bacteria grown to the size of chihuahuas terrorize a research student named Moe who just wants to graduate.


Original Version

Someone is changing the past…and not for the better. [That's so vague it could mean anything. Get rid of it.]

There is magic in the world, controlled and concealed by a shadowy government organization known as the M.O.M. [If you're going to name it, use the full name, i.e. Mages of Mars or (more likely) Ministry of Magic.] But young Dephon Johnson [How young?] cannot worry about the severe penalties imposed for the unorthodox use of sorcery, for not only does the survival of his family depend upon it but quite possibly the fate of the Earth as well. [Who decides whether the use of sorcery was orthodox or unorthodox?] [Has anyone else noticed that orthodox religions like Greek, Russian and Eastern Orthodox proudly include the word"orthodox" in their names, but none of the unorthodox religions include the word "unorthodox" in their names? Why is that?]

With his mother’s life hanging in the balance, Dephon must travel back to an earlier time to save her life. But once he arrives there, he finds he is not welcome. A young man, his father, believes Delphon is insane; his mother-to-be fears him as a witch or a demon. [Dad thinks he's insane because he claims to be from the future but has no cool futuristic gizmos as proof. Mom thinks he's a demon because he has futuristic gizmos that seem magical. It's contradictory. Does he or doesn't he have cool futuristic gizmos?] And, worst of all, someone has come back as well to bring a tyrannical government to power decades before its time, thereby igniting a bloody reign of terror that will leave countless dead in its wake. And the names of Delphon’s [This is the second time you've spelled his name with an "l," while the first two times you mentioned him it was spelled without an "l." Change his name to Lloyd. That way if you leave off an "l" you'll have another one for backup.] parents sit at the top of the list of those to be eliminated [Why? Who are his parents?] —an unthinkable catastrophe their son must prevent at all costs…or he will never be born to end the madness. [How does De[l]phon know someone else has come back and what that person's plans are? How does he know who's at the top of the hit-list? Usually if you're planning to knock off a bunch of people, you don't warn them by posting their names.] 

The Azemeon is an 89,000 word young adult novel.


Note from author: The Azemeon is an ancient gem that confers the wearer with the power to read minds.


Notes

How can one teen with no friends or allies prevent a reign of terror? If the answer involves the Azemeon, maybe that should be in the query.

Why is D's mother's life hanging in the balance? Has it been hanging in the balance for decades?

I can live with a title that's a word I never heard of, but when I read the whole query and still don't know what the word means, I get annoyed.

Are the parents on the hit list because of who they are or to prevent De[l]phon from being born?

Is it sorcery that allows time travel?

Even if the guy starts his tyrannical government 30 years earlier, and our hero isn't born, can't someone else go back in time and kill the bad guy before he succeeds, in which case De[l]phon is still alive?

Somehow, preventing a tyrannical government from coming to power a few decades earlier doesn't seem like enough if it still comes to power eventually.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Face-Lift 1289


Guess the Plot

Eradicated

1. Inexperienced wannabe author Bill R. Lytton submits the only copy of his manuscript for professional corrections and revisions, unaware that work sent to Evil Editor is less likely to be edited than . . . eradicated.

2. In the post-apocalyptic city of New New York-york, four exterminators compete to combine classic technique with creative innovations against the tidal wave of mutant vermin overrunning the city. Will they win, or will they be . . . eradicated?

3. Maya knows the history of how aliens nearly eradicated all humans. But as the greatest living micro biologist, she has a plan. She works with total physics nerd Fred Azem to create a device that can convert aliens into humans and save both species. But it violates her colony's deepest religious beliefs. And the aliens, who now rule Earth, are not about to let it happen.

4. Humanity has all but been eradicated by intermarriage to the peaceful alien race that now populates the Earth. Only teenager Maya can save us, but she's about to find out that the aliens aren't so peaceful after all. 

5. When we eradicated the dominant species on the first planet we colonized, we figured we could create a new home on which humanity would flourish. Little did we know that the Mutalians would show up a few years later with the same idea.

6. Some dude named Kafka is crusading for insect rights. Will he bridge the gap between exo- and endoskeletons? Or will he be . . . eradicated? Includes handy instructions on building your own Geiger counter.



Original Version

Maya Richardson is one of the last remaining humans. Humanity has all but been eradicated by intermarriage to the Gliesians, the peaceful alien nation that now populates the Earth. [It's not marrying them that eradicates us, it's sex. Specifically, human women stop having sex with human men, most likely because Gliesian men are better at it.] [Also, the Gliesians sound more like a race than a nation.] Maya lives in a fledgling commune where she resided with both of her parents until they each disappeared, abandoning her for the glittering allure of the Gliesian society. [Do the Gliesians require that those who wish to enter their society first abandon their children?]

Unfortunately, her place in the commune is jeopardized when her best friend vanishes with the commune’s supplies—and Maya is accused of being an accomplice. [Supplies of what? How much stuff can one person disappear with?] Maya has to prove her innocence and convince the commune elders of her loyalty [Do the elders have to prove her guilt?] in order to take her rightful place in the commune hierarchy. [Once you've declared that humanity has been virtually eradicated, I find it hard to care whether Maya Richardson takes her rightful place in the hierarchy of a fledgling commune.] [Also, it sounds odd for a "fledgling" commune to have elders. Unless, by "elders" you don't mean people who've attained their positions of power through longevity, but simply people who are older than other people.]

But Maya has a secret. Actually, she has two secrets: one that can save the commune [From being depleted by those who leave to have sex with Gliesians? Or are they under attack?] and the other that can save humanity. Unfortunately exposing one of her secrets will get her kicked out of the commune. [To hell with the commune. She's better off without them.] If she exposes the other, she'll find out that the aliens aren’t so peaceful after all. [You know that, but does she know it?]

Eradicated is an 80,000 word young adult novel. May I send you the full manuscript?


Notes

It's hard to buy that enough Gliesians could be transported to Earth to eradicate humanity through intermarriage. It would take millions of them. Presumably about 100,000 show up and reproduce until there are millions. But even so, there are billions of us, so there wouldn't be enough Gliesians to marry. Polygamy would help solve that problem, but it's only the children who would be alien/human hybrids; it would take a hundred years for all the original humans to be die out. At which point, if almost all Earthlings are alien/human hybrids, isn't it true that almost all aliens, the ones Maya is going to find out aren't so peaceful after all, are hybrids as well? Perhaps half the Gliesians go around impregnating human women while the other half keep the alien strain pure?

The fact that Maya is one of the few remaining humans suggests that her parents were among the few who didn't buy into the Gliesian hype. Which seems at odds with their abandoning her.

What's so alluring about the Gliesian society that virtually all humans want in, even if it means abandoning their children? Are they drugging us? Hypnotizing us? Is that the secret you won't, for some inexplicable reason, reveal to the agent you're querying?

Do these Gliesians look like humans? Because I can't see a lot of humans wanting to marry aliens who look like Ferengi. 


Friday, December 04, 2015

New Beginning 1051


Guard Tali Adilrein crept through the warehouse, searching. Would a child who'd snuck in climb the towering bales of wool to look out through the high iron lattice? A normal human wouldn't detect the rancid scent of ancient enchantments in the metal, not with the reek of camphor. Would they notice the dead moths around the bars? If the child touched the lattice, could they be too hurt to call for help?

Gulls cried from the harbor in the distance. Faint scuffs tapped the bale above where a cat prowled along the edge of a spider web. A cat could sound like a young child, too young to be the one Tali'd heard. She crept onwards. The measured tread of the duty guard paced the floor. Thuds punctuated the voices of laborers stacking bales onto carts. A child whimpered with fear, beyond the outer wall? Roughly northeast.

Tali jogged back to the guardroom. She ducked through the curtain over the entrance.

Mirran said, "Find someone?" He looked up from wiping the table.

"They're outside," said Tali, striding to the door.

Tali hated this time of year. Children, always children, sneaking in, climbing in. She'd find them later, torn apart by the guardians or trapped in the gargoyle pens. Why did they insist on breaking into Santa's warehouse to see if they'd been naughty or nice?


Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: khazar-khum



Tuesday, December 01, 2015

New Beginning 1050


Three corpses dangled by ropes around their necks from the branches of the enormous border oak. Though rotted by time, the corpses still retained a mostly human shape, if you ignored the long tails. The breeze shifted. Carrion stench swept over the makeshift slave market.

Or, rather, the market of spies pretending to be slaves.

“Do they really think we're that stupid?” said Korus.

Psiris said, “They're expecting--”

“Dismount!” said Captain Nisin, suiting action to word.

The six men in the patrol meandered towards the market, leaving the two dogs guarding the horses at the top of the hill.

One of the slavers met them with open arms. “Good day, good sirs, and welcome. Are you looking for anything in particular? Oh, but I get ahead of myself. Come sit in the shade and allow us to display our wares.” The slaver led them to a tent with one side open.

"Here's a good one," said the slaver. "Tough, strong, women want him, men want to be him. Tell them your name."

"Bond," the muscular man hissed through clenched teeth. "James Bond."



Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: khazar-khum