That dreaded synopsis thing.

I’ve spent the last few days working on a short synopsis for ‘Bringing home the stars’ in preparation for sending out material to more agents. There aren’t that many agents who specialise or accept sci-fi, so I wanted it to be excellent and a good sell right from the start. The trouble is that synopses are one of the most difficult things to write, especially if they are for a book that you have written yourself.

I’ve reposted what I’ve got so far below. WARNING: SPOILERS!

Bringing home the stars – short synopsis

Dezza is a gritty salvager aboard a deep space tug along with Tubs and Zoë. They find a derelict Starliner – the Cerberus – in uncharted space after their tug’s drive core fails leaving them marooned. Onboard the Starliner, something kills Tubs. At the same time some of the Starliner’s secrets are revealed, indicating that an unknown creature has colonised the ship. Dezza and Zoë escape, and the Starliner disappears as its engines reactivate. Back on Earth, mistakes Dezza made aboard the Cerberus and the loss of Tubs haunt him. His reputation is ruined, he spirals downward labelled as a man who lost his crewmate to a space myth. Whilst he becomes a drunk, Zoë signs up with another crew and disappears back out into space trying to put the experience behind her.

Five years later a man called West from the military offers Dezza a chance for redemption. Return to the Cerberus, which has reappeared in deep space, as an advisor for a military crew and stand a chance of regaining his reputation is West’s offer. Despite his fears and the fact that another salvage crew has disappeared searching for the Starliner, Dezza signs on after West explains that Zoë was one of the last salvage crew who have disappeared aboard the ’Cerberus’.

Slowly what Dezza faced all those years ago begins to manifest again aboard the Starliner, revealing an entity that can change between matter and energy and roams through the electrical systems of the derelict Cerberus. It picks off the military crew, infiltrating their own ship resulting in its destruction so that Dezza and the survivors must try to reactivate the previous salvage crew’s dead ship in order that they might escape.

The creature grows stronger; feeding off their fears and manifesting as those it has killed before. It becomes clear as the creature reveals itself and its past that the only way to defeat it is to destroy the Cerberus. If they don’t, the creature will continue to devour the crews of salvage ships that would risk everything for the ultimate prize of recovering the ancient vessel and towing it back for the salvage money and risk contaminating an entire planet with it. Greed and the physical value of the Starliner, regardless of consequences would almost certainly lure other salvage crews. Long range scans from the salvage craft’s systems indicate that the Cerberus risks grazing a meteor swarm. There is only a chance that it will be destroyed, but they will almost certainly die if they remain because the creature is relentless in its attacks.

In a co-ordinated plan, one of the surviving military crew – Tracker – provides a distraction, luring the creature after himself, allowing Dezza to recover essential components that the abandoned salvage ship needs to be reactivated fully to be able to escape. The diversion is a success and Dezza is able to flee with the last of the military crew – Toze – at the expense of Tracker. He instead stays to ensure the creature’s destruction and prevent it from regaining control of the Cerberus and making another escape by activating the main engines. The creature attempts to regain control and destroy Tracker, manifesting first as his dead comrades, then as elements of the original Starliner’s crew. Only by facing up to the creature’s attack is Tracker able to keep the Cerberus on course long enough that the creature cannot undo the collision course with the meteor swarm.

Dezza and Toze make it back to Earth, knowing that whatever fate awaits them, they have both faced the dangers and have done what they felt was right.

’Bringing home the stars’ is the updating of the classic ‘haunted house’ formula set in deep space. It uses the setting to provide the opportunity for the maximum amount of suspense and tension through the unusual isolation that being marooned in deep space can offer. It is sci-fi and horror where the sci-fi takes a back seat to keep the story accessible to all readers, including those who do not normally consider sci-fi their normal reading genre. It has elements of ‘Aliens’ and ‘Ghost ship’, but takes care to build the suspense in the most subtle of ways by focussing on the psychological interaction of the main character Dezza and how his experiences on the Cerberus have become a turning point for his life. As the story progresses he is forced to face up to his past and fight instead of turning and hiding and in the process reinvents himself as the man he used to be, and faces up to the errors of his past.