A Literary Correspondence
8810 Sunset Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Re: Query Letter & submission follow-up/Story synopsis
Plethora Literary Agency, Ltd.
133 E. 35th St., Suite 14
New York, NY 10016
Dear Mr. Calsutta:
While other writers might have been offended at the somewhat candid – some might even say brutal – manner in which you responded to my prior submission (“The Ordeal From Beyond Space”), I want to assure you that I am professional enough to take criticism in stride. As Mr. Pennyworth, my high school English teacher, always said, “Critiques are the fertilizer of literary growth.” Hence, your observation that my writing was “stylistically decades out of date and shockingly out of tune with modern mores and values,” “unwelcome and unneeded Philip K. Dickian retro-boredom,” “a mishmash of muddled metaphors seemingly pulled from the fetid bowels of a 1950 B science fiction corpse,” etc. etc. etc., was taken in stride. As well, your suggestion that I should ‘check the pulse of modern reality’ did not go unheeded. Specifically, your advice that I ground myself in what’s really going on in the public mind by monitoring “Coast To Coast AM, with George Noory.”
In the intervening six weeks since our last correspondence, I’ve taken your advice to heart and have now plotted out another novel that has, I think, both a credible plot and a contemporaneous pulse.
The following pages contain a short synopsis of the new science fiction novel I intend to write, titled “The Sky Is A Lonely Place.” Since I intend for “Sky” to be primarily a character-driven novel, the synopsis addresses character and plot, and is short on flora and fauna. The setting is contemporary American society, hence unremarkable and self-explanatory.
Thank you and Plethora Literary Agency once again for taking the time to evaluate my work and consider me for representation.
The Sky Is A Lonely Place/Synopsis J. Richards
Setting: today, the United States
- Roger Johnson: the protagonist. A part time high school teacher and political activist
- Pegye Albright: free-spirited pottery artist and sometime companion of Roger
- Hammed Mohammad: urban freedom fighter from Palestine
- Sandy: Desert Bigfoot, from Arizona
- Edward (Eddie) Benelli: a homeless Iraq veteran who has emotional issues that cause him to be deeply conflicted about violence
Style Note: To give the story a ‘slice-of-real-life’ feel, I’ve used the real names of public figures whenever possible. The action is bifurcated at the end and flashback style is used to flush out character relationships and back story.
The Sky Is A Lonely Place
The story opens with ROGER (primary POV) in Washington, where he and other concerned progressive citizens from the PTU (Part-time Teacher’s Union) are taking part in a monthly peace march in front of the Lincoln Memorial. When Roger returns home to Atlanta, he finds that PEGYE, his companion, is missing, and that none of her friends seem to have a clue as to where she may be. Saddened, but not upset – he has contemporary values and realizes that he doesn’t own Pegye – Roger assumes that for some reason Pegye has reverted to her old ways; prior to their relationship, Pegye had a deeply meaningful and satisfying lesbian relationship in college. Unfortunately for her, the relationship was broken up when her partner, Lt. Shamiah Dainbridge, an officer in the Marine Corps Reserves, shipped out to Iraq, where she was eventually killed by her own troops (composed of high school drop outs and mental throwbacks, the lot of ‘em) who evidently did not respond well to taking orders from a capable woman in a position of authority.
After Lt. Dainbridge’s death Pegye is disheartened. Distrustful of other women, whom she fears might also abandon her by dying, and with her emotions inflamed, a desperate and confused Pegye turns to heterosexuality. After she meets Roger at a vegan pottery fair, they decide to become temporary life-partners. For the first week Roger is not worried about Pegye’s disappearance, since she is a strong and independent woman who is perfectly capable of making her own life decisions without male input; however, when he finds out that she left without taking her collection of faux Hopi pottery with her, he becomes somewhat concerned.
That night, while listening to “Coast To Coast Am, with George Noory,” which Roger assiduously tunes to in an effort to skirt standard media propaganda and get an unfettered perspective on world events, he learns that more than three-dozen blondes from their area disappeared around the same time as Pegye! One caller, from the mid-west, reports that recently she saw a railroad cattle car pass near her isolated home, and that by the light of the full moon she could see that the cattle car was filled with blonde women! The train was headed to Arizona along an abandoned portion of track once used for transporting cattle. Rightfully worried, Roger consults a psychic friend, Bredennai, who promptly goes into a trance and is possessed by Fluffy — her cat-spirit-guide — and, amid much mewing, hissing, and frantic grooming, informs Roger that she sees Pegye in a narrow room, with creaky wheels under it, hay on the floor, surrounded by other women who look similar to her. This is too much for Roger, who doesn’t believe in coincidence. Now deeply concerned for Pegye’s safety, Roger does an in-depth net-search of old railroad cattle lines in Arizona, and finds that their nexus terminates near Area 52, an isolated and cave-filled area. There is a Haliburton research mega-plex in the area, and access is restricted by the government.
After further research reveals that approximately every three months women with a specific hair color have gone missing in certain locales – blonde in the summer, red in the fall, brown in the spring, and black in the winter – Roger decides he must go after Pegye and solve the mystery. He cashes in his most recent SSI checks (one for alcohol, one for sex addiction) and gets a friend to provide him with additional funds by guaranteeing them against his annual EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) check. With resources now provided for, and map in hand, Roger immediately sets out for the West.
Roger reaches Arizona, finds the old RR cattle train tracks and begins following them. Though supposedly not used since the late 1900’s, he finds evidence of more recent use. Since no roads follow the tracks, he abandons his car and proceeds by foot. During the night he has the feeling he is being observed, perhaps by government agents. He finally meets his observers: SANDY, a Bigfoot so-named for his desert coloration, and his friend, EDDIE, a homeless Iraq war vet who shares Sandy’s cave. After Ed and Sandy determine that Roger is not an agent for Haliburton, and he too listens to “Coast To Coast AM” in order to skirt mainstream media propaganda, they become his friends and quickly agree to help him with his quest: they know a short-cut to the Haliburton facility. However, they warn him, the facility is not only a black-op government research center for such things as Katrina hurricane generators. It also provides access to a cave and tunnel complex that houses the reptilian aliens who control the puppet government now in power. They inform him that unlike the Grays, from the Pleiades — who love children, have a great sense of humor, and only want to help mankind progress in its spiritual growth — the shape-shifting reptilians are from Sirius, a bad neighborhood if ever there was one. After destroying Mars and eating its inhabitants, they infested earth and made a deal with the government of the United States to trade technology for a steady human food supply. The problem of human-eating alien infestation is at a crisis point, says Sandy, and explains that Idi Amin, Jeffery Dahmer, and a certain soccer team who had a cannibal party in the Andes, were all shape-shifting reptilians.
As the trio undertake the surveillance of the Haliburton facility in order to devise a plan to rescue Pegye and the others, they discover they are not alone. They uncover HAMMED MOHAMMAD, a Palestinian freedom fighter who has escaped the clutches of Haliburton agents, who contract with the CIA to conduct torture sessions on innocent Arabs under the guise of fighting terrorism. Hammed has a thorough knowledge of the Haliburton layout and points out the weak points in its security system. He is very eager to assist them in their attack on their Western imperialist brothers who work for industrial corporations and their media slaves, such as FOX news and Rush Limbaugh.
After observing the changing shifts of security guards, the trio realizes that all of the security force looks exactly alike! Hammed informs them that this is because part of the research facility is a cloning plant for Vice President Dick Cheney. All of the guards are Cheney’s exact duplicate and are genetically encoded with the same degree of fanaticism.The problem of when to attack is resolved when the security force hears the religiously diligent Hammed shouting his evening prayers. Due to the cruel torture he suffered at the hands of his Halliburton interogators — who locked him in a room for three days while “Peter Frampton Live” was played at 90 decibels over loud speakers — Hammed now says his prayers very loudly. They leave the compound in force and attack Roger and his friends. Fortunately for Roger and his friends, due to a cruel genetic twist of fate, the Cheney security guards are not only uniformly bad shots, but when startled have a tendency to suffer a fatal cardiac infarction.
With Hammed leading the way, they penetrate Cheney’s Haliburton lair and save the batch of blonde women, just in the nick of time, as Pegye was scheduled to become the dame de jour for the hungry reptilians. As the ravishingly hungry reptilians attack, Eddie covers his friends’ retreat by desperately scooping out ladle after ladle of scalding hot lentil soup to fling at the reptilians. Though his friends make their way to safety, Eddie does not. Outside, finally safe, Sandy explains to the others that Eddie had been carrying a great burden of guilt, which was expunged by his act of self-sacrifice; while high on drugs in Iraq, he had once ‘whacked’ a female lieutenant he didn’t like.
Even though Pegye is grateful to Roger for saving her life, she confesses that she has developed a strong attraction to Sandy. “The beast in Sandy,” she explains to Roger, “brings out the woman in me.” Sandy and Pegye hurriedly retire to his cave to consummate their new relationship. Roger respects her decision. He and Hammed realize that they must now be on the run to avoid capture by the Bush administration. They decide to throw their lot in together – and find that a strong mutual chemistry exists between them. Together, Roger and Hammed move to Hugo Chavez’s utopia in Venezuela. Here, Roger finds a position as a part time teacher. He and Hammed adopt several malnourished African children, and they all live happily ever after.
Plethora Literary Agency, Ltd.
133 E. 35th St., Suite 14
New York, NY 10016
Re: recent submission/synopsis
Dear Mr. Richards:
Loved the synopsis for “The Sky Is A Lonely Place.” Great stuff. It bubbles with believability. The only change I’d suggest is perhaps turning Eddie into a transgender African-American. Just a thought. How soon can I get a detailed outline and the first fifty pages? I will be at the West Coast Publishers Convention in six weeks, and would love to have more on “Sky” to place with some prospective publishers.
On the strength of the synopsis I’ve also included two copies of our standard literary contract in this package. Please sign both and return one to my office.
Plethora Literary Agency, Ltd.