Ask Daphne! About My Query LXI

stonesandalsA massage for your feet while you walk for A.H., who’s sent us his query for review today. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Dear Ms. Unfeasible:

For Hagai’s twenty-first birthday, his mother sends him a stone that gives visions of the future. But he doesn’t know why she sent it, or how, since she was killed eighteen years ago. Hagai’s not exactly a hero — the bravest thing he’s ever done is put peppers in his stew — yet when the stone shows his mother alive and in danger, he sets out to find her.

Air pirates and sky sailors are also after the stone, and Hagai soon loses it to a wanted sky’ler named Sam. Sam wants the stone to help him avenge his father, but it only shows him his own death. Hagai, he learns, receives many visions. So when Hagai tracks Sam down and demands he give the stone back — politely, of course, because Sam’s got a knife — Sam offers him a job instead.

Now Hagai, who grew up wanting nothing to do with sky’lers, is crew to one and fugitive from both pirates and police. He’s not sure he can trust Sam, and the stone haunts Hagai with visions of his own death.

Nonetheless, he’s determined to change the future and find his mother, if it’s not already too late.

AZRAEL’S CURSE is a 90,000-word science fantasy novel, available on request. It’s written to stand alone but has series potential. My
short story “Pawn’s Gambit,” set in the same world as AZRAEL’S CURSE, appeared recently in BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
A.H.

On the whole, I think this is pretty well done. There’s sweet bits of character detail about Hagai — the stew thing is particularly nice — and I’m intrigued to know more about a world with both air pirates AND sky sailors. (And which ones are the sky’lers?)

But where I’m getting slightly hung up is the sense that the query seems to give me a lot of action, possibly the entire story of this novel plus the set up for the sequel. The alternative is that this is just the set-up for the bulk of the novel, covering the action is just the first few chapters, in which case, I think you can spare some of the detail, and tell me more about what happens after Hagai signs onto Sam’s crew.

Maybe I’m being picky. I know I’m much more inclined to say no to something than yes, so I’ll open up the floor to my more generous readers. What do you think? And how do you feel about the term “science fantasy”?

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