Friday, October 25, 2013

NOQS Minion 10: STARBREAK, Adult Science Fiction

Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 78,000

My Main Character’s Greatest Fear:

My greatest fear? That I’ve already ruined my life. I flunked my twenties, and I’m not doing much better on my thirties. Little girls don’t dream about poopy diapers and dead end jobs. I love my kids—easily the greatest experience of my life—but I wanted more. I got my doctorate, but instead of changing the world, I babysit a machine all day. Worse, I’m too chicken to do anything about it. I’m safe. I’ve got a job. My husband has a career, and we have a house. How can I risk that when I have kids?


Getting a PhD in planetary science was supposed to get Chrissy King a spot in the next astronaut class, not a husband married to his career and a dead-end job babysitting analytical equipment. Add two kids conspiring to keep her up all night every night, and Chrissy wonders if Happily Ever After is a lie told to propagate the species. When Chrissy sees an alien impersonating the meteorite from the end of the dinosaurs, her world views change in a nanosecond: humans are not alone. Any warm feelings she has about first contact are cut short by an arrow sticking out of the alien’s chest. With only minutes to live, the alien recruits Chrissy to the Knights of Mourning as a last ditch effort to stop a murderer.

Unfortunately, being an interstellar peacekeeper isn't all teleporters and ray guns. Antihuman sentiments run close to the surface, and if the murderer doesn’t get Chrissy first, a disgruntled Knight might shoot her in the back with a subatomic particle beam. And the killer isn’t some run of the mill alien assassin: he targets stars, too. When Chrissy makes a quick trip to Earth to check on her family, the murderer follows her home. If she can’t stop him, the killer is going to add Sol to his collection of celestial corpses.

STARBREAK, complete at 78,000 words, is a science fiction similar to what might happen if the Green Lanterns recruited a woman scientist instead of a test pilot.

First 250 words:

In a shocking display of oxidizing gases, my car exploded. Fire poured from the engine as the body lifted off the ground. The back half erupted in a pyroclastic vortex of spare tire bits and car seats. Time slowed as the fire spilled into the morning sky above the coffee shop.

But I only had two more payments on that car.

The pressure wave smashed into me, and time zipped back up to full speed. The gushing wind tore the tea cup out of my hand as the heat rose up around me. My eyebrows gave up the ghost and turned to smoke as the fire ball whipped through the air in front of me, and I flew off my feet. My shoulder slammed into the gutter where weeds pushed open the cracks in the pavement in a show of extreme optimism. Raging heat seared the corduroy on my coat, and the dry weeds smoldered.

A bolt hit me in the back, and I covered my head to wait out the firestorm of car parts. I couldn’t believe that was a car bomb. I knew government jobs were notorious for making political enemies, but that seemed ambitious for my colleagues—even if we did work in a lab that sometimes handled explosive materials.

I peeked out from under my hands. The hood looked like Thor had tangled with it during some Hollywood blockbuster. Char and soot covered the whole front end, and small flames licked up the side like children begging to see the trick again.


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