12.19.2006

HH Com 167

When Hurricane Alexis swept up the Delaware coast and destroyed Long Island, sheriff's deputy Jordan Wiley lost her father. In the aftermath, she could also lose her country.

Welcome to the America of the future, where oil shocks spur feverish growth in the technologies to replace it but also a rebuilding of a pre-industrial society. Where the growing political power of Pacific Coast progressives, New South patriots and Latinos seeking their Aztlan forces the government to hold a Constitutional Convention to chart the nation's future.

As Jordan mourns her father's death and reunites with her estranged family, she didn't count on seeing her ex-husband as well. When FBI agent Ray Cooper drops back into her life on the trail of stolen military weapons, she's surprised to find how much she still cares for him. But when they discover a plot to seize control of the presidency, one that may involve her own family, she has to decide if preserving a fractured union is worth sacrificing her loved ones.

Set near the turbulent end of the oil era, where high-tech advances coincide with economic chaos and demands for political change, "Perfect Union" follows today's headlines into a future that's scary as it is plausible.


It needs polishing up but you're on the right track. You'll need MUCH more about who's behind the plot to control the presidency and why that is a bad idea (Miss Snark has ambitions to be President of the Known Universe so she's not going to just jump on the "control is bad" bandwagon).

Dystopic future novels are really tricky cause you have to create a world that is both oddly familiar and yet new.

12 comments:

BernardL said...

Oil Shocks? Boy do I hate it when that happens to me. You go over a piece a hundred times, and the second you hit the send button, up pops an Oil Shocks. :)

clarice snarkling said...

I've been waiting to see a novel written about a post-oil future. I speculate that a lot of people are working on this type of project as we speak, but the market will only be able to hold so many of them. I think you have a good premise here, author, and I encourage you to go forward with it. I sort of cringed when you got to the part about Jordan still caring for her ex-husband, but if that's the story that you want to write, then maybe you can make it work. I hope Miss Snark has asked for pages, because I'd love to read more.

bunnygirl said...

Oh, yay! A peak oil novel!

Good luck pitching this, Author. I didn't get very far shopping one around this past fall, but it might've been because I got distracted by a new project and didn't query widely.

Check my profile and drop by my blogs if you want to see what I've done with the peak oil concept. I've got a blog with opening chapters, and I've got a post-peak serial novel blog where I do daily postings.

I think your concept may ultimately more marketable than my own, because you're going the high tech thriller route, which has huge market appeal. Miss Snark is right, though-- dystopian fiction isn't an easy sell.

I'd be happy to chat post-peak fiction with you anytime. And my four queries did result in a couple partials, so I must've done something right. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Virginia Miss said...

This looks interesting, but you almost lost me in the second paragraph: make this clearer and simpler, maybe something like "oil shocks spur feverish competition in the energy industry." In the next sentence, perhaps say "Aztlan-seeking Latinos" to keep a parallel construction and make the sentence more readable.

In the third paragraph, consider "As Jordan mourns her father's death and reunites with her estranged family, her ex-husband, FBI agent Ray Cooper, drops back into her life on the trail of stolen military weapons."

I love your last bit: "Perfect Union" follows today's headlines into a future that's scary as it is plausible.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This appealed to me because global warming interests me and it would be fun to see it in action. Two things though. You teeter-totter between past and present tense, which is distracting to read. Also, you lost me when the story became about saving the president. With so much going on, and the world in such fascinating change, that particular plot line seems less than unique.

RT

Rei said...

Oh great. Another "world is going to end because of peak oil" scenario :P

Anonymous said...

The "Aztlan" thing, as I understand it, is more a creation of news organizations feverish for audience amongst the "please terrify me" crowd than it is a real threat, even if the US were to completely collapse.

My primary source for this is Dave Niewert (dneiwert.blogspot.com); research and make up your own mind...

writtenwyrdd said...

The premise sounds saleable to me, because you seem hooked into the thriller angle. I don't, however, think I would read it. I'm not a fan of depressing dystopian tales, unless there is some sunshine in them.

However, I hated (really really) the term "oil shock" in that first sentence of the second paragraph. The first pargraph intos the heroine, the second the world--and you lead with an unfamiliar term. "Oil shocks" smacked me in the face with its unfamiliarity. If you've gotta use that term, use it when you've defined the dystopian setting for the reader. Yes, the term is reasonably self-evident, but it's jarring as hell when I haven't got any sense for this world except it's the future.

Twill said...

Personally, I'd think you could get a little mileage by calling it "Hurricane Snark"...

HawkOwl said...

I loved "where oil shocks spur feverish growth in the technologies to replace it but also a rebuilding of a pre-industrial society" and that was about it. If the focus wasn't on the US and the woman's personal life wasn't mentioned, I'd want to read this.

Bill Peschel said...

I appreciate all your comments, and will be visiting the sites you've recommended.

Just to clarify a few points, there's going to be no romance beyond what's mentioned in the hook ("Focus! Focus!" I hear). This is also not a dystopian novel. There's going to be plenty of weirdness to go around without having to turn it into "Mad Max."

Regretfully, "Hurricane Snark" would probably not fly with an editor. How about "Hurricane Clooney"?

MWT said...

HawkOwl: are you sure what you're looking for is fiction?

This has four paragraphs that alternate back and forth between story and setting infodump. I'd scale down the infodump sections. Maybe eliminate them altogether; hint at them while talking about the story instead.