HHCom 1

When Slave 247 is sold, she’s terrified she’ll end up with a breeder. All she wants now is her old Master; cruel as he was, she knew his expectations for her chores and manners. Of course, she tells herself, she should’ve known things get worse than even a breeder. She ends up serving The Emperor; all slaves know that’s a death sentence.

Of all the slaves in this world and the hundred or so others conquered, he picked her. This has her confused as hell. She’s not even breeding age, nowhere near fit for The Emperor. When she finds out why, she almost stops wishing she had ended up with the breeder. Almost- because he promised her her freedom if she succeeds.

What better spy than a disposable one, what more innocent than a youth, and what better listener than a slave? Now 247 - or ‘Tiffany’ as The Emperor calls her - is all three. The Emperor’s lured yet another alien species to deceptive peace talks. There’s even a young alien on the trip. What better than ‘peaceful relations’ among children?

But her ‘friend’ Nintonia is concerned with peace. Her alien parents and the rest of their convoy are kind, laughing people. As 247 adds this to her questioned beliefs- all slaves are inferior; aliens are evil- she has a choice. And the time to make up her mind, for her life or her freedom, is now

Freedoms Call is a completed YA novel at about 65,000 words.

I'm totally grossed out. Sorry. Any query that uses the word "breeder" and it's not talking about nuclear reactors is icky.

This is also squishy with non-specifics.



Rashenbo said...

Hmm, I don't think I'd like my daughter reading that particular novel. Although, if written well, it might be something I'd be interested in. But, if it were on the back of a book I picked up at the store, I'm afraid I'd pass as well.

Writerious said...

This could be an interesting story, but the hook is kinda all over the place, and the word "breeder" is repeated to the point where it's distracting. If it were tightned up, it might fly with an SF&F editor.

(Ahahahah -- I shouldn't talk too big -- mine is still in the queue.)

SusanT said...

Beyond being very odd, I have to say that anything involving masters and slaves these days tends to take on a very sexual undertone even if it's *not* intended--and in this case, it's very obviously intended. And who on earth, or any other planet, would think that would be appropriate YA reading?

But here's the point where I was really lost: What kind of futuristic all-powerful The Emperor (is that like The Cheat?) would name a future sex slave "Tiffany"?

Mig said...

Muddled. I couldn't find a hook and found the writting difficult to follow.

HawkOwl said...

It's like on Project Runway when Emmett made a dress that was "vulgar and dowdy at the same time." The plot is excessive yet tedious. The style is awkward and not congruent to the plot. It didn't even make me want to read to the end of the hook.

Kristi said...

OMD, I loooovvve Project Runway! Where in the HAIL is my chiffon????

Oh yeah...the hook. Being a 'breeder' (stay at home mom) myself, I find this a little interesting. But it sounds more like erotica than YA. Like Ann Rice's dirty books, maybe? The Sleeping Beauty ones?

Don't tell anyone I know about those books.

Anonymous said...

I was skewered by Miss Snark's last Crapometer. You're not alone. Don't give up. YA isn't my preferred audience, and perhaps yours isn't, either. I hear "erotica" is supposed to be the next big thing -- and slavery is an acknowledged part of the fetishist underground -- throw in some vulgarities, and maybe agents will be beating down your door!

Anonymous said...

I think this could work. But with breeders, it isn't really a kid's book. If it's YA, it might be a tough sell--especially judging by MS's reaction.

Anonymous said...

YA with breeders and the MC has a stripper name? (No need to ask how I know that, move along.)

Oh, you're NOT joking.

Word reps, an alien with a name too similar to Rabbitania for my visual comfort, and icky idea means it's on the red eye for my circular file.

Someone's trying to revive the old Gor stroke books.


Go back and read Bob Heinlein's YA. I didn't like them, but I hate them less than this effort.

Anonymous said...

I think it sounds great.
The writing is tight. I'm worried about the MC. I'm curious about the different cultures.

Let's not get too taken aback by the 'b' word. Afterall, it's just an approximation of the 's' word -albeit with an expected result.

This struck me as a breeder that just might be able to deliver!

I hope the writer will keep sending it out!


Anonymous said...

I'm actually drawn to the breeder SF stuff. I do agree it was squishy in that I couldn't quite get the main problem. But the other things resonated.

Anonymous said...

I thought erotica too at first. Probably not a good thing.

There is a lot of unfocused writing too. Forget the plot, the hook, the way the words are put together doesn't work. This needs a lot of tightening.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, erotica's the first thing that came to mind for me too. The thing is, keeping that aspect out of it and having her "make a run for it" from the point she makes her choice could be cool in a Logan's Run kind of way. This sounds like sex kitten yearns to break loose.

Benja Fallenstein said...

Hi Author #1,

Starting with the breeders grossed me out, too. Fortunately, your hook starts in paragraph three and is about "247"'s opportunity to turn on the system and prevent the Emperor's next conquest.

If it were me, I'd remove all mention of breeders from the query letter and replace the winding prose of the first two paragraphs with just the bare facts we need. It's not just the breeder stuff -- you also made me think you were putting your heroine into a completely powerless situation, which disposes me against your book.

I also think the query would work better if you added a few words at the end about what 247 can actually do when she's made up her mind to act against the Emperor, the point being to show that you have something fresh and interesting to bring to the plate there.

I don't think you necessarily need to get the breeders out of the novel. Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Choice is a young adult fantasy book that pulls no punches about masters buying slaves for sex being a part of the society it's set in. But notice how it's not so central to the plot that any of the reviews feel they need to mention it.

Here's my advice: refocus and revise.

- Benja

Anonymous said...

While I think this novel sounds fascinating, the immediate mention of the "breeders" does lend itself to visions of erotica. This hook should probably start with paragraph three.

As for its classification as a YA novel, I think that it is perfectly suited to the genre, although 247 ("Tiffany") should probably not be referred to as a "child" but as a "young woman" or simply as a "youth," perhaps. YA is not all as clean as The Princess Diaries - after all, The Gossip Girls, also listed as YA, contains rather explicit mentions of sex.

If I saw this on the shelf, I'd read it.

shannon said...

Take out the word "breeder", focus more on the slave-cum-assassin-for-promise-of-liberty thing and it'll be more palatable.

As for it not being suitable for a YA audience, rubbish. The "breeder" thing has thrown you, also cause it sounds so immature. If it is erotic, or excessively sexually explicit, then steer clear of the youth market.

However, YAs are notoriously horny, and very very interested in sex. God, one of my favourite books from that age is still Polymer, a story about a girl from a space station which is conquered by the empire, and she pisses off the wrong guy who basically kidnaps her for, um, some fun, but really he's in love with her... oh it goes on, but it's a great book and I read it many times and it was not in the least bit offensive.

Give your kids some credit, will you? How young to you think "Young Adults" are???

Author: rewrite, change the names (Tiffany?! Got big hair and huge hoop earings, by any chance?), downplay the sexual side because I don't think that's what your story is all about, and shop it to the right people.

BuffySquirrel said...

I was left a little confused. 247 is concerned about being sold to a breeder, but then we're told she's not breeding age. In which case, why would a breeder buy her?

Apart from that head-scratcher, the protagonist's dilemma looks interesting. I like novels that focus on one person's moral choices.