Felix Ramos had always dreamt of working in space, but a journalism degree does not an astronaut make. Given an unlikely opportunity to fulfill his childhood fantasies, he leaps at it, unknowingly launching himself into a place balanced precariously between tedium and terror.
As a human kill switch in an artificial intelligence-managed resource exploration station on one of Saturn’s moons, he finds that ticking boxes and pushing buttons is awful, even when it’s done where no man has gone before. His counterpart and confidant, Cara Moretti, occupies another facility, where she discovered this unpleasantness months ago. Their days are rigidly structured by their employer, the Koyamatsu Interplanetary Development Concern.
And then the Russians invade—or at least Felix swears so, pushed into paranoia as unidentifiable lights and figures flicker on the horizon. These are the opening shots in the campaign of a group of militant conservationists who wish to stop private development in space; Felix soon finds himself the target of cajoling, gaslighting, and bribery for access to his station’s AI core. Deluded into imagining himself as a highly-paid double agent, he begins to make noticeable mistakes.
Cara, meanwhile, discovers that her company hasn’t budgeted for bringing both of its employees home. She’s been cleared to go, but her new friend has not. If she keeps her mouth shut, she knows she’ll see Earth again, but her conscience screams for her to risk abandonment to save his life. Her predicament could become moot, though: Felix has triggered a surprise visit from Koyamatsu, which threatens to aggressively smooth any embarrassing wrinkles in the operation.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
This is a stunning turnaround. You've gone from "this is a mess" to "I'd read pages" in ONE revision.
When two deep space researchers are set up to fail by a ruthless employer on an inhospitable moon, they must decide whether to resign their lives to inertia or fight for uncertain freedom.
This is a log line. Avoid them.
Think about it: it's a false choice. If they resign their lives to inertia, there's no story.
And worse, this kind of log line doesn't entice me to read on. Again, the goal of a query letter is to entice the reader to want more.
Log lines are imported from Hollywood, and they have NO place in query letters. I don't care what any one else says, even normally smart agents. I'm right and they're not. Log lines are of the Devil. Shun them.
Different Atmospheres is 72,000 words of speculative fiction set on Titan, a moon of Saturn covered in hydrocarbon oceans and methane glaciers.
Felix Ramos, young, inexperienced, and idealistic, operates Ontario Station in the southern hemisphere. Cara Moretti, wise, professional, and sick with wasted potential, occupies Kivu Station to the north. As the sole inhabitants of their semi-automated research facilities, the two are dependent on each other for the real-time communication and commiseration that bat back the boredom and depression of isolation.
This is all set up. Unless you're querying a child of six with no background in the science fiction genre either in books or movies, you don't need all the set up. Saturn's moon is enough. We know it's cold. We know it's isolated. (There are days I'd pay good money to work there)
And then the Russians invade--or at least Felix swears so, pushed into paranoia as his station’s computer mysteriously malfunctions. Cara, meanwhile, discovers that her employer hasn’t accounted for bringing both of its researchers back home, which becomes the least of her concerns as a shadowy group of conservationist saboteurs struggles to gain control of the moon.
He's going nuts...and? She finds out it's a one way ticket ...and? You need the choices and what's at stake for us to care about their situation.
And "shadowy group of conservationist saboteurs" is as one-dimensional description of a villain as I've seen in a while. It's actually a reason I'd reject this even if the writing was any good. Boring villains make boring books.
Thanks for your consideration.
This is a mess. Start over. Focus on ACTION not description. Tell us what's at stake and what choices the main characters have to make. Give us a compelling INTERESTING villain.