Title: HANNA BUYS THE FARM
Genre: Sci-fi thriller
Word count: 61,000
My main character would prefer to live in:
Hanna grew up in a town where the winter temperature hovered around -30c. When it’s that cold, unexposed skin freezes and dies in about five minutes. She did her best to leave that behind, disappearing into the city the moment she graduated high school. Downtown, the abundance of concrete keeps everything a balmy -20c, in which case you have ten minutes before frostbite. Which sounds like an improvement, until you realize you’re living somewhere where you can count the minutes until your skin dies. At least with sunburn you get to enjoy the sun before your skin falls off.
Dear Sun and, to a lesser degree, Snow,
When Hanna’s (debatably) successful career in corporate data theft is cut short, she’s left with nothing but a few hundred thousand dollars and a condition that leaves her fatally allergic to technology (blight, if you want to be crass).
The money can solve the allergy problem—for a while. It might even be enough to keep up appearances and save Hanna’s reputation. But when an overzealous client abducts both her best friend and her estranged sister, it’s clear that her problems are far from over. Really, she shouldn’t have trusted him in the first place, considering he initially got her attention with chloroform and a suckerpunch—but hey, we’re not judging.
Circumventing the allergy takes a lot of money, and when the money runs out, so will Hanna. Unfortunately, she’s also the only person who can get everyone out of this mess alive. The stakes are high, but the objectives are deceptively simple: save her sister and her friend (in that order), avoid dying from some stupid allergy, bring the hand of God down on those responsible.
The consequence of Hanna’s actions will make her the most infamous person alive. She’ll be on every screen, headlining every news site. Because when the sky goes dead-channel grey—that’ll be Hanna’s fault. Well, half her fault. Maybe three-fifths.
First 250 words:
I found a taxi waiting for me in front of the detention centre, which was—legally speaking—the least they could do. As I got in, the driver refused to make eye contact with me. I, too, avoided his eyes, which is kind of superfluous if you’re the second person to do it.
He dropped me in front of my apartment complex without saying a word. I didn’t really have a plan—despite the fact that I lived here, talking my way inside was going to be a little tricky.
The console outside the front door of the building was old and slightly sticky to the touch. Swiping through a few screens left a thin film on my fingertip. I rubbed off on my pants and tried not to think about it.
I had to tap the buzzer for the building manager a couple times before it registered. A groggy voice answered.
“Hi. Hello. I live in 1205, but I need someone to let me in.”
A group of teenagers were walking down the street behind me, one of the boys doubling over in an obnoxious, slightly forced laugh. What day was it? It seemed late for people to be out wandering. They disappeared around the corner, and everything was quiet again.
An older man met me at the front entrance. He was wearing blue pyjama pants and a t-shirt that had obviously been well-loved enough to fall out of regular rotation.