Mar 6, 2010

Absorption (second revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

Dear Agent X:

At first Brett Johnson is convinced that the hive mind is a malignant entity intent on devouring humanity. Enraptured by the strange beauty he discovers, he must determine if war is unnecessary, or if he’s been tricked and seduced himself.

Major Johnson is sent to deliver an ultimatum. The planet Oceania must abandon the nanotechnology that links individual brains into a supermind or prepare for war. To demonstrate that the Federalist Worlds are not merely driven by fear and ignorance, he reluctantly agrees to learn to use the technology himself, without completely joining the overmind.

During negotiations he rashly seduces a beautiful woman, hoping to distract her from the hive mind he believes may destroy her. With her help he learns more about Oceania than his superiors could have imagined – but begins to question what he’s been told. Is the hive mind truly an entity seeking to absorb humanity – or a collaborative tool enabling people to perform superhuman feats of intellect?

He can only find out by becoming part of the supermind. If he was right all along and no individual can ever leave, he will never know what he’s lost – and those who hear his report may not understand until it’s too late. If his doubts are correct, it may well be too late to convince his superiors, and the home world of the woman he comes to love may be wracked by a devastating and unnecessary war.

Absorption is an 80,000 word science fiction novel. I received my Masters of Library Science from the State University of New York at Albany.

Grateful Regards,

David Weisman


AjFrey said...

I recommend leaving out the first paragraph. Start with the ultimatum. It is a much stronger paragraph. (with the exception of the passive sentences.) Watch your –ly words. Merely, completely, truly, etc.

Also, double check yourself for punctuation. You are missing a few commas. You want it to be top notch. You also have quite a few passive sentences and adverbs.

One question that came to me was – who are his superiors, who sent him?

I like the concept and think you have a great story. This query is much improved from the others.
Hope this helps.

Shelley Sly said...

I agree with AjFrey above. This is your best query yet, but skip the first paragraph and lead us in with a strong hook.

Major Johnson is sent to deliver an ultimatum.

That is a more powerful opening sentence than your current opening.

The next sentence is a bit confusing without a comma. I'd stick an "either" in there too, just to clarify that there are two options.

The planet Oceania must either abandon the nanotechnology that links individual brains into a supermind, or it must prepare for war.

I also think there are instances where you need to add a comma, as well as change the dash to a comma:

With her help, he learns more about Oceania than his superiors could have imagined, but begins to question what he's been told.

Otherwise, I think this is great. You're definitely giving a clearer picture of the plot, which sounds fantastic.

David F. Weisman said...

Thanks again, AjFrey, Shelley Sly. With your help and the help of those who made suggestions for the previous versions, my query letter will be completely polished by the time the manuscript is.

Amy said...

Okay here's what I see:

1) The first paragraph is confusing. It doesn't throw me into the story - it makes me wonder what I'm reading.

The "deliver an ultimatum" sentence is a much stronger start. You might consider splitting the "To demonstrate..." into another paragraph, making the first paragraph just the ultimatum.

Try rewriting the "during negotiations" sentence. He was trying to save her, not distract her, right? Address punctuation on the next two sentences. I think commas are appropriate.

I know this is a big one, but I would either delete all but the first sentence of the next paragraph, or I'd shorten in up a lot. If you're brave, you could just reword the first sentence to be punchier (is that a word?). I think you're trying to highlight the tension in the book - the this or that - but it's not working.

Here's an attempt:
There's only one way to find out: he must become part of the supermind (overmind? you use that term once). He could be absorbed into the hive, or he could become *(something else you don't really describe - what is the alternative?) If it's [something else], he must find a way to save the woman he loves and her world from destruction (duh duh duh).

That's the skeleton of it.

I don't know if that helps - I just think that last part needs to be more dramatic. Not cliche or gimmicky - but dramatic. This is the hook where the agent will either say huh! or ugh!

The book sounds very cool! Kind of Borg meets Avatar. Good luck!