Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Black Science: The Back Cover Copy

I've been trying to write Black Science for both JulNoWriMo and AugNoWriMo, and yet I've had little idea of what the plot is. No more idea, in fact, than when I first tried to write it for NaNoWriMo back in '06 and got two plots in one for my trouble. Well, yesterday I realized exactly what the conflict is: the battle between two "tribes" of scientists, the "Prometheans" dedicated to human improvement and evolution vs. the "Faustians" who sell their scientific integrity (if not their souls) to the military-industrial complex for money and power. And those two ex-spouses turned mortal enemies at the center of the novel, (respectively) Willa Richter-Thomas and C. Henry Becket, represent (or even lead) them.

So how did I manage to get a plot out of the cast, vague concept, and many background ideas for Black Science? I asked myself: "What would I print on the back cover?" It goes something like this:

Black Science

Willa Richter-Thomas. Clinical psychologist drawn deep into experimental neuroscience. Secular humanist. Liberal antiwar activist. Musician with a shady rock 'n' roll history. Mother of two. Den mother to a small tribe of hackers. Dedicated opponent of pseudoscience.

C. Henry Becket. Behavioral psychologist. Inventor of the mind-control machine. Patriarch of a clan of soldiers and police. Retired army officer. Conservative commentator. Fanatical patriot. Torturer.

For one month in 1993, they were married. Now they are mortal enemies. They battle over the soul of science itself as leaders of two powerful factions:

The Prometheans: Single-mindedly devoted to the advancement of human evolution, even if it causes chaos, anarchy, and revolution.

The Faustians: Dedicated to the relentless pursuit of personal wealth and political power, even if it threatens the extinction of the human race.

In 2008, Dictel Corporation, the world's largest military-industrial conglomerate, attempted to take over the United States by force. Now it sends out its siren song to those on the cutting edge of knowledge. Can even the most dedicated Promethean resist — and save not only the world, but her own soul?

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