12.26.2005

Crapometer #14

Genre: Commercial fiction

Have you laughed when a senior citizen said, "The weather's never been the same since they went to the moon in the 60's." Or have you ever wondered about the truth of government conspiracy theories? Touched By Fire is a fictional novel that explores the questions.

ARGHHHH. I’d stop reading right here. “Fictional novel” is one of those phrases that makes me want to set my hair on fire. All novels are fiction. ALL. No exceptions. It’s like saying “a banana colored banana”...

(A) Fifty years ago, the United States military installed a 'black project' on the moon. The purpose of the Project -eventual security for America. Over the years, government officials buried the Project beneath layers of bureaucracy, with no visible accountability.

In 1956 they did this? Right there you lose me. Suspension of disbelief is important...I might believe you if you told me this happened in 1966, but not in 1956.

(C) Ten years ago, Captain Montana Sinclair gained the leadership position on the US Air Force's public version of the Project. A year ago, the Air Force supposedly handed-off the Project to the Navy's control in Gakona, Alaska and Montana accepted a transfer to California.

When you name someone after a state, you have to watch your sentence construction. When I first read “Gakona, Alaska and Montana” I was wondering if Gakona was a new state.

(B) The Project-(HAARP)-High Altitude Auroral Research Program. At best, it is a classified technologically advanced transmitter capable of studying ionospheric phenomenon. At worst, according to conspiracy theories, it is a government weapon to control the weather.

This paragraph (B) logically follows (A), not (C)


Today, Montana discovers that her beloved Project is a catastrophic doomsday device, but there is uncertainty as to who is controlling it. Montana's personal life appears to be on the same downward spiral.

Yea, saving the world, and getting a date...a modern day heroine needs to be able to multi task.

This brings out my snarkiness because the two things are so imbalanced. This is like Superman worrying about whether Lois Lane likes him while trying to wriggle free of his kryptonite underpants.


CAPTAIN MONTANA SINCLAIR doesn't understand why General McKay asks her to accept reassignment to Hansen Air Force Base in Florida. The base is now a Homeland Security unit and her expertise focuses on Earth Science and Astrophysics. Her first assignment takes her to San Diego to investigate destructive weather and geological anomalies plaguing the United States. Fear quickly replaces her excitement at finding strange pulses emanating from the moon. An earthquake assaults the lab she's working in, and the San Andreas Fault swallows it, forcing her to run for her life

You either capitalize the name only the first time you use it OR all the way through, but not for the first time after you’ve been talking about her for awhile.

Earthquakes happen, they don’t assault things. Assault requires intent and the forces of nature don’t have intent.

Meanwhile, at Hansen, GENERAL HERSHEL McKAY, is being plagued by shuttle protesters, so he has them detained by Base security. Irony lies in the fact that the shuttle doesn’t need to go to the international space station, or carry the items that they are protesting. The shuttle's covert mission is to go to the moon and correct the perceived problems with the HAARP.



Upon returning from San Diego, Montana realizes that the detained protest leader is her former boyfriend, philanthropist JIM MORTON. For the first time in ten years, she admits to herself that there remains a major attraction to him. Jim still loves her and secretly plans an attempt to renew their relationship. Montana wrestles with openly admitting her affections and thus giving up her life of independence.



Montana receives a promotion, along with the revelation that the HAARP has a twin system operating on the moon and it is responsible for the havoc on earth weather. McKay puts her in charge of finding a solution. Her orderly, controlled world continues a nosedive when her mother, JUDE SINCLAIR, shows up on her doorstep, bag, baggage and born again. Montana is not enamored with God and she is also not sure what 'born again' means, but she thinks it may be a cult.


Whoa! Alien alert!

Jim travels to New York for a UN conference. While there, he runs into an old friend from Israel, JACOB BEN-MEIR, who is working for ALEXANDER ROMANOFF, the President of the United States of Europe. Romanoff offers Jim a temporary job in Israel where USE Headquarters are located.

Whoa! Israel is now in Europe? Holy schmoly.

Romanoff gained control of the HAARP while Russia had temporary oversight of the space station during a US hurricane. He plans to use the system to destroy the United States, in revenge for the deaths of his family at the hands of American soldiers, when he was a young boy. Tensions heighten when a tsunami roars across the Indian Ocean, and volcanoes erupt around the globe as Romanoff tests the capabilities of the HAARP.



Romanoff is exposed as the culprit, but the United States government is not willing to admit publicly that the Project exists. Montana is enlisted to recruit Jim Morton as a freelance analyst for the CIA. She fears for his safety and admits that she is still in love with him.



A spy brings Montana Sinclair to Romanoff's attention. He recognizes her as one of the original forces of the HAARP project and worries that her intervention will thwart the plan of destruction for the US. When Romanoff realizes her involvement with Jim Morton, assassins are dispatched to kill both of them.



Another covert CIA agent helps foil the murder plot and supplies the location of the illicit HAARP control center in Russia. Special Ops are dispatched to destroy the center. Romanoff's forces put the center on self-destruct, triggering a volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands, and spawning a tsunami that inundates the East Coast of the US.



Hansen AF Base is a safe distance from the Florida coast, but a tidal wave causes an earthquake, collapsing the Command structure. A falling beam strikes Montana. She lays (lies) trapped as Jim and others try to free her. With delirium skewing her perceptions, Montana thinks her loved ones are being taken to heaven, leaving her because of her frivolous attitude toward God. She wakes up twenty-two days later from a coma, thankful that she has a renewed perspective and a second chance with God.

Major alien alert here.
You’ve given us no, zero, zilcho hint that Montana’s spiritual life is one of the plot lines. None. That bodes ill for me thinking I want to read this.

You’ve got a science fiction novel here (science fiction is a phrase, it’s not science, fiction novel) and then it morphs into a spiritual thriller. There’s a lot to be said for consistency in a narrative.

We need to get a sense that Montana is struggling with her spirituality if this is going to work. It can’t just arrive out of the blue.

1 comment:

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Wait!!!Don't set your hair on fire. I'll fix it. I'll fix it.

Thanks Miss Snark, I'm getting closer each time I get a critique on it. Some day.....

You truly have huge skills to get through all of these and still want to write a blog!

We all appreciate you! Thank you!

I'll save my questions until you're all done and recuperated!