HH Com 163

Luke Von Batten, a spoiled, arrogant, young lord in Eighteenth Century England, beds every female that strikes his fancy. And there are many. One of these indiscreet affairs costs him his life and launches him into the monstrous world of the undead.

In the Twenty-first Century, Rebecca Richards, a molecular biologist, strives to unlock the mysteries of human cloning. When Luke volunteers to participate in her experiments, he prays she is the liberator he’s been seeking, someone who can free him of the vampire curse.

After many failed attempts, Rebecca bypasses his contaminated blood and isolates the pure DNA needed to create a clone for him to inhabit.

Luke is ecstatic to be human again and Rebecca is flushed with the success of her life-long work. But she is harboring a dark secret. Her physician diagnosed her reoccurring neurological symptoms as an inoperable brain tumor. Having to deal with her own mortality, she makes a faithless decision to publish a research paper on her scientific achievements, something she promised him she would never do.

When he learns of her betrayal, he destroys all the documentation of her experiments, leaving the dying woman’s dreams for recognition and immortality in ruins.

In retaliation, she transfers her memory-bank into his discarded vampire body. Now wearing the guise of Luke Von Batten, vampire, Rebecca stalks her newly created clone. How will he pay for his treachery? With death or should she return him to the bowels of the hellish world he recently escaped?

Comedy right?

You've got too much info here. Focus on the key points. Luke is a vampire (why that is so is just backstory). Rebecca is an idiot scientist who discovers the secrets of human cloning but has promised to never reveal it. Only when faced with her own death (cause yanno...changing her mind is so pedestrian) does she do the right thing and publish.

And just as a note: it's not the lack of documentation that would ruin her. Once the results are published, she's REVEALED how she did it. Then other scientists try to replicate the results (Allegra Goodman wrote a wonderful novel about this). Only if they can't replicate the results does she go down in flames.

You're missing the interesting part of the story here. Luke is ecstatic to be human again but Rebecca seeking revenge voluntarily becomes what he was ecstatic to give up. Now there's an interesting exploration.

You may have an interesting story here but it needs work.


Anonymous said...

I usually agree with you but Ithought this was very interesting and creative idea.

Sucked me right in.

Virginia Miss said...

I agree with Miss Snark about the interesting bit. This bored me (I almost stopped reading after the first sentence, thinking this was historical romance) until we got to the last paragraph, then I thought "oooh!"

I think you've got a very commercial premise here.

Condense the first four paragraphs per Miss Snark's invaluable suggestions, and good luck with publication.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was an interesting twist on vampires. However, what bugged me was 'the scientific communities' complete lack of interest in a real deal vampire.


Arkylady said...

Thanks for the critique, Miss Snark!

katiesandwich said...

This sounds cool! At first, I thought, "Oh, it's another vampire story," but this is not the case. I would love to read this!

Madeline F said...

I'm afraid I didn't think much of it. I was thrown out of suspension of disbelief in the first sentence: I don't think anyone in the 1700s was named Luke. Before Star Wars, the name Luke was quite unusual. Now, maybe he was Lucien, but then he'd have a French first name and a German last name and be English? Eh, seems unlikely.

So then all the stuff about science didn't pass the suspension of disbelief line, either. Did he tell her he's a vampire? Her data is useless because of it, since her method applies only to vampires. If he managed to hide his condition somehow, it's a fine reason for her to kill him in revenge. But she should know he's a vampire, because otherwise she'd be pretty stupid...

I'm glad you did something other than the usual "tragic flower who shows male character meaning of life with romance before dying" when you gave your female lead a brain tumor, but it's still a cliche illness.

I'm interested in how Rebecca likes being in a male body.

Anonymous said...

A Luke wrote one of the Gospels shortly after year 0---so yes there have been people named Luke around for a rather long time :-)

Emmy Voter said...

I actually thought the 'science' was conveyed in the 'bypasses his contaminated blood' line -- it was clear to me that he makes her aware of his condition and that her skills are tested in isolating his 'real' self from the vampirised self. But looking back at the hook, I see that info isn't there, and I was filling in the gaps -- probably because of my experience writing "Forever Knight," and the resemblance of these lead characters to Nick Knight and Natalie Lambert. (If this is a reworked fanfic, the reworking is good, taking it far enough from the series characters to be fresh, while still holding a probable appeal for the original audience.)

I like the idea of the cure for vampirism being found in the form of transferring the conscuiousness into a clone of the pre-biting man -- and I didn't see the twist of her taking over his old body coming AT ALL.

Anonymous said...

Big pet peeve, but Anonymous, there was no year 0. It goes directly from 1 BC to AD 1.

Madeline F said...

Luke is like Debbie. In living memory, there was a huge boom of people using it, and now it's associated with the place/time of that boom. Even though there was a Deborah in the Bible! ;)

Writerious said...

She's going to have to wait a while to stalk that clone -- at least until the kiddo learns to walk. "Cloning" isn't an instant Xeroxing process. What you get when you do a nuclear transfer cloning is a fertilized egg that has to be gestated in someone's womb (at least until the artificial womb is invented) and grow at a normal rate. Hence she's going to look kind of silly trying to stalk a fetus.

Then what you get is a real, live human being with all the rights of any other citizen, not a souless hulk waiting to be "occupied."

If you're going to put science elements in the story, be sure to get the science straight.

Anonymous said...

The New Testament was written in Greek, not English. The name of the Gospel writer was Λουκας, pronounced Loukas, which meant "from Lucania" a region in Italy. www.behindthename.com

Issendai said...

The general premise is good, but there's one gaping plot hole. The scientist can create a clone and download a person's mind into it, why is she angsting about her own mortality? Why doesn't she clone herself a new, tumor-free body?

Apart from that, this sounds like an interesting twist on the vampire theme.

Twill said...

The part *after* she goes into his old body is a meaty role for an actor. (pretending to be vengeful girl in vampire's decrepit body...)

If there is enough back-and-forth during that part of your plot, you could end up with a great movie deal.

HawkOwl said...

Exactly. Wow, Miss Snark is so seeing things my way today. :)

The part where Human A turns Vampire B back into Human B, and then Human A turns itself into Vampire A, and then Vampire A tries to make Human B back into Vampire B, that was totally cool. The dark secrets / inoperable brain tumour / womanizing dead nobleman angle, totally cliché.

I'd look at it and hope you're the kind of writer who takes suggestions well.

batgirl said...

Withycombe (Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names) gives Luke and Lucas as being used in England from the 12th c. on.
Von Batten, though, does not sound like the name of an English Lord. Sure, the Mountbattens used to be the Battenburgs, but they changed it fairly quickly.

MWT said...

There's an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The Sixth Day, which had a clone factory that made fully grown adult templates. When they wanted to clone someone, they just transferred a copy of the person's consciousness into a half-baked template, then touched it up with the superficial bits to make it look like the original person.

That's how I'd figure it would work for a story like this. It wouldn't be implausible, given everything else that goes on in it (cloning a vampire back to human, etc.).

As for why she doesn't just clone herself without the brain tumor ... maybe in this story there isn't a factory, and cooking up the template is a difficult endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who corrected my year 0 mistake--Thanks for the tip! Here I was trying to be vague because I don't know the accepted decade when that gospel was written, and I ended up making a mistake anyway :-)
Madeline--I disagree with likening it to "Debbie" which is a modern nickname of an older name. I did a casual google on Luke and 1700s and plenty of geneaologies popped up.

Anonymous said...

Seconding what writerious said about the clone being a foetus. Please get your science right. It's obviously key to your plot so it's worth spending some time researching what is likely. You can play around with your science - it doesn't have to be totally true to life - but you should have a good background to work from and build upon. Read up on genetics and how the scientific community works. It sounds like hard work but it will be worth it and you might get some other little ideas along the way.

Kit Whitfield said...

To add my vote to Madeline's: Luke von Batten is not a name for an English 18th century aristocrat. You need to do some research on that; personally I'd go for a safe name, as the upper classes tended to keep family names in circulation, such as Henry, Robert, James, Charles, John. There might have been a few Lukes kicking around back then, but most people won't have heard of them. If you really want to keep it, I'd try making it his middle name - have him called, say, John Luke Batten, and because his father and elder brother are also called John, he gets addressed by the middle name. Or something like that.

But it's von Batten that's the real problem. The English in the 18th century were extremely xenophobic; there's no way, even if he had German blood, his family would keep a German name, especially with a 'von' in it. They'd adapt it. Even the current royal family changed their name - it used to be Saxe-Coburg. Luke Mountbatten, or Luke Montgomery, or Luke Reynolds, I could just about believe, but Luke von Batten - sorry, but to an English ear it just doesn't work.

Arkylady said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have taken them to heart and will be doing some revisions.

To clear up some points…

Rebecca perfected a way to "age" a clone. Therefore, Luke’s memory bank is transferred into an adult clone. She did not destroy his “old” body because she knew her fellow scientists would never believe she cloned a vampire and she needed this body to prove the old legends were real.

She cannot clone herself because of the tumor.

The Von Batten name is German as Luke’s father stands fourth from the throne of Germany. Maybe “Batten” would serve me better.

Nothing is written in stone and I welcome all comments as I hone my story.

Thanks again.