Sunday, January 25, 2009


Dear Query Shark:

As you read this letter, you are secure in your surroundings. Dial 911 anywhere in the country, and armed men will rush to your aid. You have friends that care for you. You feel safe with them. Perhaps in times of trouble you pray to a God, or some greater power. All is as it should be…or is it?

Would it scare the hell out of you If I gave you scientific proof that most people you see, and know, are not completely human?

I live in New York City and ride the subway. I've got scientific and anecdotal evidence on a daily basis.

This opening is too info-merical in tone to be persuasive and compelling. It sounds like you're selling Ginsu knives.

If you are subject to fits of terror when faced with scientific proof…put this letter down…dismiss it from your life.

Generally one does not have "fits of terror". "Fits of laughter" yes.

On January 20th, the whole world fell in love with an un-known man, the new President of the United States. Do you not find that strange?

What does this have to do with anything you've mentioned earlier. If you plan to tell me that President Barack Obama is not human, you've got a bigger problem than this query letter.

A Neanderthal skull in the British Museum found in 1920 is dated to be over 40,000 years old. The hole in this skull as examined by forensic scientist, state; “This hole could only have been made by a bullet.”

The skull of a specie of Aurochs (extinct for 100,000 years) in the Moscow Museum has a bullet hole between its eyes. Some could argue the bullet hole was made by modern day man. The problem examiners face is the bullet hole has calcification…this means the creature was shot some 100,000 years ago, and survived its wound long enough for the bone to start re-growing. It appears that whoever was doing all this shooting was not only killing Dinosaurs, but also Neanderthal creatures.

Dinosaurs were mostly extinct by 65 million years ago. Neanderthals traits appear some 600,000 years ago. Here's the difference: 65,000,000 years versus 600,000 years. In other words 64,400,000 years. You have dinosaurs with bullets in them? Aurochs aren't dinosaurs. They look like cows. IE not reptiles.

Clay of the Gods is a true story based on actual events, however, some of the characters, incidents and names are fictitious. It starts with the creation of Adam, and ends with the last days of Mary. You need not know beyond that, for you will know what has happened, what is happing, and what will happen. It will give you joy, or complete terror?

I'm not even sure where to start here. This is dazzling in its lack of focus and clarity. I have no clear idea of a plot, characters or what exactly this novel (is it a novel?) is about. You can have all sorts of lunatic and crackpot ideas but if you want me to read them, you have to write them clearly. Michael Crichton had me believe in cloned dinosaurs simply cause of his writing.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, (redacted)

Form rejection.


Wedding_Skulls said...


Welshcake said...

I quite like the idea of a Neanderthal skull with a bullet hole in it. Could be a good story there. But this is very confused.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

A quick google on aurochs indicates that they perhaps didn't go extinct until 1627 AD, and they were hunted into extinction by sportsmen. Since firearms and bullets have been around since about 1500, the mystery is whether your sentence means all aurochs went extinct 100,000 years ago, just that particular breed did, or if the specimen in Moscow is actually 100,000 years old. The writing isn't precise enough to tell.

As it is, yeah, none of this hangs together. Even if this is the most startling discovery of our time and word must be gotten out about it, the query - and book - still need to be well-written enough to attract and hold attention. This query, unfortunately, doesn't give me much confidence in your skill to deliver.

Jessica Milne said...

This query desperately confused me. o-o; There may be a good idea in there, but I couldn't even find the plot!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the writer is suggesting that Barak Obama was the main character in The Sound of Thunder....

K Catalona said...

hee hee hee. Always so much fun to read query shark. :)

as for the bullet in the old body, Tess Gerritsen did something really similiar (and really well)in one of her most recent novels. I can't remember the name but it involves a bullet found in what everyone believes to be an ancient Egyptian mummy.

Sarah Laurenson said...

There are hints of an interesting story in here. But I agree that the query is too confusing. I noticed at least one typo - happing - in the last paragraph.

What I get most out of this is that you are trying too hard to create intrigue. If it were less heavy handed (and less factually inaccurate), this might be worth a peek for me.

talpianna said...

I have an archaeologist friend, a retired British Museum curator, who is currently writing a book on cattle. It's the third in a series on history, myth, and art (more or less) dealing with different animals; the first two (horses and dogs) are best-sellers, at least by academic-press standards.

She was just talking about the aurochs this morning. I am forwarding this query in hopes that she knows something about the specific skull mentioned (and perhaps the Neanderthal one, too; I can't help being reminded of Piltdown Man).

Anyway, I don't see how one could be certain that a hole in a skull that old was made by a bullet, rather than a powerfully-hurled arrow or spear, unless one were to find bits of brass or traces of gunpowder in it.

WV: wedgeno--One of the three young men in the fiery furnace in the Old Testament

Clare K. R. Miller said...

Um... what?

How could the President of the United States be unknown on January 20? People had to vote for him to get him there.

Lucas Darr said...

"Dial 911 anywhere in the country, and armed men will rush to your aid."

That led me to:

"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!"

I could not get past the 911 sentence and how it doesn't have anything to do with, well, anything.

JS said...

Dial 911 anywhere in the country, and armed men will rush to your aid.

A) Not everywhere in the US. I just Googled it, and apparently only 96% of the US has 911 emergency service; my dad lives in a community that doesn't have it. The Google is your friend.

B) Not all police officers are men.

C) As Phoenix said, aurochs haven't even been extinct for 400 years. Again, the Google is your friend.

D) I strongly encourage you to stop listening to Coast to Coast AM.

Lehcarjt said...

I found this confusing as well. For example:

You need not know beyond that, for you will know what has happened, what is happing, and what will happen. I have NO idea what this means.

Try looking at the back covers of already published books. Then try writing your pitch in a similar manner to those. Good luck!

mbenkin said...

I like mysterious assassins. I like extinct animals. I like time travel. But from this query I don't know who is assassinating whom, in what century, and why. These are things I'd need to know.

The bit that sticks in my mind is the auroch that survived the bullet in his forehead. That's one tough side of beef. In fact, I'd pay good money to read about an auroch on a rampage.

"Arnold the Auroch awakens from suspended animation in the basement of the Museum of Natural History. He's hungry, he's angry--and now he's got a gun. "Itchy Trigerhooves" is the thrilling story of a time-traveling, pistol-packing bovine on a grudge match 10,000 years in the making. He's Intelligently Designed . . . To Kill!"

Or maybe not. But I would really like to know who is shooting whom in what century and why. And unless the auroch becomes President, I wouldn't drag POTUS into this at all. Best of luck.

dmciii said...

Author you really need to pick up on one thing from these comments. Your audience seems to love the idea of fossilized bullet holes predating the invention of guns. No doubt, I know it intrigued me. In a query that is very confusing on the plot or direction or setting or characters we all grabbed that piece and ran with it.

How did it get there, time travel. Earlier than known technology, alien technology, perhaps a secret the church has long hidden ( I see our timeline from Adam to Mary) Although I think id set it in modern day and use the backstory to pull the religious icons, if any. (I'm Thinking Da Vinci Code) Your hints at the presidential seat raise visions of illuminati and secret society (all very cool if used properly) There is a nugget of gold buried here. But its buried deep. Keep digging though, you're on to something

Mimzy said...

mbenkin, I would buy that book in a heartbeat. My college roommate grew up right next to a cattle farm and takes great pleasure at eating beef whenever she can. Apparently when she was little she went after a ball that had flown into their pasture and was chased by one of the cows. A story about a bovine with a grudge would be the perfect thing to send her.

As for this query I found the idea interesting, but the execution poor. Despite saying that the timeline is from the creation of Adam to Mary (the mother of Jesus I'm assuming) the dig about Obama doesn't seem to fit in at all. Actually, for future query letters I would suggest removing the Obama reference entirely. Many people may not take kindly to someone suggesting that our new president is not human. (Unless he's actually a space alien. I would vote for him again if he turned out to be a space alien! That would be so nifty!)

talpianna said...

But, Mimzy--what if he were a REPUBLICAN space alien???

sally said...

>>>>"Fits of laughter" yes. <<<<

I've been having several of those reading here today.


What fun.

Unknown said...

This is my favorite query ever. We should send this to The Onion, I bet this would make a crackerjack article.

President Obama - Muslim. Socialist. Dinosaur hunter?


Vivian said...

"Aurochs are not dinosaurs. They look like cows. IE not reptiles."

Dinosaurs are not reptiles either. Scientists now believe they were warm blooded and the ancestors of birds.

viara said...

There is no such thing as specie in taxonomy.

It's one species, many species. Ending in 's'. Always.

JD said...

First off, Dinosaurs were Reptiles, birds are descendants of Dinosaurs. So birds are really Reptiles. And you guys missed the point of this guys post. Its not a book, these are all ready established theories.