May 9, 2010


June, 1850. Again.

For two hundred years the silver monorail of the Midnight Train has been a silent reminder of a bygone era where Gunslingers, Outlaws, Ostrich Hunters and Redskins roamed the storm wracked flatland of the tornado plains.

Dust in her hair and lye soap burning the creases of her washtub hands, farmhand Faith Gale fears that her life's ambitions will end with her trapped as the trophy wife of a corn farmer -- until she sees the smokestacks of the black train rolling into an abandoned station on the far edge of the farming town of Topica.

A lone passenger disembarks, hiding knowledge of the past, the present and the many parallel lines of the future behind metallic green eyes.

Beaten and raped by Jebediah Green, Faith is held hostage by his bulletless guns and the temptation to follow him as he cuts a pathway of brutality and murder into Topica's rural bliss on a quest for an artifact he thinks can return him to his home. Wherever, whenever, that may be.

Pursued by a trio of gunfighters, Jebediah and Faith ride the twisting rail of the Midnight Train to the wall at the edge of the world -- and beyond -- as Faith takes gun in hand and becomes the villain of her own life story.

Faith and a .45 is a 90,000 word Sci Fi Western in the spirit of Stephen King's Gunslinger novels.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

-Philip Hansen


gj said...

It's nicely moody, but I have no idea what happens. Or even, with any certainty, who the protagonist is. Or what she wants. Or who's stopping her. Or why we should care.

This might work well for back-cover copy, but it's too vague for a query.

Botanist said...

Hi Philip, I have to agree with gj here.

I felt there were some good questions raised that piqued my curiosity. The first paragraph grabbed me as an introduction, and the rest, here and there, suggested an interesting premise.

But the descriptions of what the story is actually about were couched in such general terms as to be effectively meaningless.

Examples: Faith Gale's fears about her life ambitions...too vague for me to understand what the stakes are. Everyone has ambitions, some small, some breathtaking. There's not enough here for me to care about. Similarly, Faith taking gun in hand and becoming a villain. Why? What choices did she face?

Jebediah's quest seems more clear and understandable. Good. But why is he being so brutal about it?

There were a few things that left me confused, too. I assume Jebediah Green is the lone passenger, but that wasn't too clear at first.

And overall I couldn't make up my mind whether this was all set in a future world where society has reverted to a rural lifestyle, or set in the past with a visitor from the future. The first paragraph seems to set us up for the former, the rest for the latter.

Finally, is there a place on the bookshelf for sci-fi westerns? I'm not an agent and no expert here, but everything I've read about genres suggests you need to be clear about where your book would appear in a bookstore. Mixed genres can be tricky, so I hope you've done enough research here.

Good luck with this, despite the above, it sounds an interesting story.


Ryan said...

I really liked King's Dark Tower series so the word gunslinger caught me right off the bat.

I definitely like the way that you have a lot of this done. It feels more like reading a novel than a query, but like the other two, I think that it would be best to remove some of the vague points. Make it a little more clear about what is going on. Beyond that, though, I don't have much for you.

evilphilip said...

Great suggestions, guys. Thanks!

gj: While I agree with the other posts that there is some real weakness in the "what happens" category (gunfights, of course!) don't a lot of Agents suggest that your query should read like back cover copy?