Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #43

TITLE: Starwisp
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

That stupid android wasn’t listening to me again. I covered my ears against the wailing emergency siren and bent over the hatch. Below, the ladder disappeared into the darkness of the engine bay, punctuated by flashing red emergency lights. I squinted and called down, “Hapi? Just want to let you know I picked our mark. When we get to Stymphalian Beta, we’re stealing the statue.”

The ship shuddered violently, sending me flying across the tiny bridge and into a rusty metal wall. My breath escaped in a puff. I rubbed my elbow where it’d cracked against the steel. Underneath my tangled legs, the Disharmony’s engines sputtered. My teeth buzzed from the vibrations.

“I’m a little busy now, Jez. Perhaps we can discuss this later.” Hapi’s voice drifted up from the bottom level of the ship. I crawled back to the hatch. I considered the ladder for a second, then winced and looked down. The android’s subtle blue glow stood out against the dark and the dancing red lights. With inhuman speed, he rushed between engine panels, fiddling around where steam hissed up into the bay.

“It’s not a discussion.” I gripped the edge of the ladder as another jolt rocked the Disharmony. “The statue’s our target.”

Hapi appeared suddenly under the hatch. His body was perfectly still, and he stared at me with bright, pupiless blue eyes that never failed to creep me out. “Right now, I’m not sure we’ll even get to Stymphalian Station Beta."


  1. Strong writing and great voice! Though I don't exactly know who the MC is, what her purpose is, or the plot (it's only 250 words, after all!), between the writing and your use of detail, I would want to read more. Especially loved "he stared at me with bright, pupiless blue eyes that never failed to creep me out" -- nice, vivid detail with a hint of creepy tone. Depending on the synopsis/query, I would likely read this book!

  2. Ooo! Really cool!
    Love the danger and the superzooming android in the engine room. I get the feel from the way the MC interacts with it that they are friends or at least partners and they seem to have a conflict about stealing a statue even before the engine (or whatever else might be wrong with the ship) started having problems. Good internal and external tension.

    Absolutely hooked!

  3. Hooked. Great voice, wonderful attention to detail without bogging us down and intriguing premise. Great job.

  4. I'm a big fan of the first sentence! Quirky and fun! I love the clear and modern voice mixed with sci-fi elements. The action is a little too fast for me to grasp what's happening though.

    Love how you described Hapi's eyes!

  5. Great voice and sci fi is a new and refreshing twist. I also like the opening line-- the stupid android not listening draws me in-- I also know it's sci fi and I want to read more. Why are they stealing a statue and why might they not even arrive there? Nice opening.

  6. Ok, so we have a quest, (stealing the statue) and a problem (a junky spacecraft). Good. It lets me know what I’m in for. And something is obviously wrong with the ship since the siren is going off, and Hapi is obviously trying to fix it. (Good. Tension and suspense.)

    But does she really expect Hapi to hear her over the noise, and is this the time to discuss stealing the statue? And why is she calling him stupid when he’s trying to save their lives, or at least the ship? Even after she sees him rushing around to fix things, she still harps on about the statue. To me, it seems that Hapi isn’t the stupid one here, and that made me not want to invest my time in her. I liked Hapi. I didn’t like her. Perhaps allow her to be a bit nicer and more clever? Maybe make her more of a team player?

  7. Just Another YA AuthorJanuary 19, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    I had the same concerns as Barbara. The conversation didn't fit what was happening, and just made me wonder what was wrong with this person, why doesn't she have common sense. She also comes across very unlikeable right from the get-go, so you have to give me a reason to like her despite this or I won't stick around too long to read her story.

  8. Great scene setting. This has a real Han Solo/Milennium Falcon vibe. It might be worth getting a view outside the ship or a little more context in these first 250, but I'm hooked. Lots of nice word choices.

  9. Great opening line. Stealing the statue makes it seem like a college prank, and I was concerned that the the MC keeps harping on doing so even when there is an emergency happening. Why isn’t the MC scared, or at least wondering what’s happening? Also a little overwritten – things like “wailing emergency siren” or “punctuated by flashing red emergency lights.” Possibly interesting premise, but I’m not hooked enough to read on.