Son of a Pitch Peer Critique: The Aldar Dominion

Title: THE ALDAR DOMINION
Age and Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 84,000
Query:
The Aldar Dominion saved the World.

Three hundred years ago when humanity needed it most, the alien corporation swept humans away from their mundane world, and gave them hope. But that hope came with a price in the form of clones, saving the human race from extinction by disease. With the technology to transport one’s consciousness from body to body, the Dominion has profited endlessly. But when Selene and the captain of her international smuggling crew go on a mission to save the animals experimented on by the Dominion, their subsequent chase through the city gets more attention than intended. When their pursuit knocks Selene’s head against the back of their hovercraft, the trauma brings back a past long forgotten, one that might hold the key to the sudden disappearance of natural-born humans.

When images of stark labs, human experiments and torture come back to Selene, she wonders if these dreams could be a nightmare from the twenty years she’s lost. But when every mission starts to go wrong, and humans start dropping like flies, Selene suspects someone on the inside might be selling information on her crew’s exploits. If the Dominion is really the enemy, and no one can be trusted, then who can she turn to? With the Dominion on her trail, and the mysteries that inform her dreams mounting, Selene may not live long enough to find out.

First 250 Words:

Dangling from the open hovercraft door, Selene wondered if the lab security had any idea what was about to happen. It was late, well past midnight. They had spent the last few days staking out the low security facility on the very edge of the city. It was a fairly large building, with small security bots sweeping the yard. All was quiet, aside from the low thrum of the hover propellers.

“Stick to the plan.” Selene took stock of the dark roof one last time before she stepped back inside, meeting her partner’s all to knowing gaze. At the front of the cockpit sat the captain of their small smuggling operative.

Rikkard Gunnar was a handsome man, with messy dark hair, tan skin and striking cold blue eyes. She’d been part of his team for three years, and still she found it hard to break through his cool demeanor.

“Don’t I always?” Selene couldn’t help but grin.

Rikkard rolled his eyes and turned back to the control panel before him. He clicked around the ship’s navigation system until the hovercraft began to lower. They were at least fifty feet up from the building, a black smudge in the otherwise starry night sky. He’d have to hide their ship while she was inside or risk being seen by lab security.

“Twenty minutes should do it,” she said, turning from her captain and back to the open door. The wind whipped at her black and green wig.

6 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch Peer Critique: The Aldar Dominion

  1. This is really good! I’m hooked! It sounds like a really cool concept. “But that hope came with a price in the form of clones, saving the human race from extinction by disease.” The last part of that sentence confused me. Were the clones saving the human race? Maybe reword that or make it a new sentence. Very good query!

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  2. The query definitely strikes interest in the reader. The concept of human consciousness transported between clone bodies is fantastic and the problem of saving natural-born humans sets up the novel’s problem immediately.

    In the opening words, I’d like a bit more description on the hovercraft – what exactly does it look like and why does Selena need to dangle from the doorway? Is it mostly like a helicopter or a spaceship? I like the contrasting relationship between Selena and Rikkard. One small typo – “all to knowing gaze” should be “too”. Good luck!

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  3. The query is a little confusing and IMO it reads more like a synopsis than a query. I think you need to cut back on the range of it and just focus on the most important details.

    The same sort of explaining, rather than showing, crops up in the first 250 words as well. I think you need to trust the audience to stick around if you show them something interesting, even if they don’t understand all the details yet. IMO it’s also a bad idea to start and then immediately talk about things that happened prior to the current context. If the previous moments in time are critically important, then the plot should probably start there, if they’re not, then they’re just getting in the way.

    You write well and your grammar is clear and concise, though I did spot a “to” that should have been a “too” in there. Likewise, the ideas behind the story seem interesting, but could use a little polish to really stand out.

    I keep refreshing Ayden’s blog, but I don’t see the post we’re supposed to be commenting on. Am I blind, or is it just not up yet?

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  4. The query seemed to be going along well until it mentioned a city. What city? It comes out of nowhere and completely threw me. I think you could condense a lot of that part of the story, as it’s the inciting incident. Just tell us that the protag has an accident that brings back disturbing memories she must investigate. Then everything else should logically follow from that goal.

    I didn’t quite see where the animals came in. What animals? What experiments? Why are a bunch of smugglers engaged in animal activism? Rather than clarifying, you might want to omit that, as there’s a lot of information for us to take in already, and anything that confuses rather than explains could be better left out.

    If human consciousness can be transplanted from one cloned body to another, why does it matter that they’re dying like flies? I mean, I guess it’s inconvenient, or expensive, but it’s not the same as dying the way we die. Or are these humans experiencing real death? It’s not clear.

    There’s lots of good stuff in the opening and it has great potential, but I have a few issues. Firstly, the first line of dialogue isn’t attributed. I honestly thought it was Selene who’d spoken, as so far there’s nobody else in the scene. If it’s Rikkard, then make that clear.

    Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea to slow down an action scene for a character’s ruminations, or to describe a character. Action should move quickly and not be interrupted for parts of the story that aren’t strictly relevant. Get Selene out of the helicopter and onto the roof. Rikkard’s cold blue eyes can wait, especially as she’s known him for three years and probably doesn’t even notice what he looks like any more.

    I noticed you shifted quickly to Rikkard’s POV. That’s fine if you’re writing in omniscient. Not so fine for limited third :).

    There’s lots of good stuff here. Just needs an edit.

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