Title: MINIMUM VIABLE PLANET
Genre: Adult Sci-Fi Ownvoices
Word Count: 95,000
How Did You Fall for Writing:
I wanted to imagine a positive future for our world and get to know a feisty geek facing the dilemma of self-interest and interdependence. She changes her life and, as a result, transforms the planet. I hope her story might embolden readers to attack climate change, solve intractable challenges, and have a few laughs.
In a tech-utopia on Earth in 2218, cyber-engineer Willoy Kapule builds weird robots from discarded parts in her spare time. Subsisting on the lowest tier of society, she’s desperate to create a game-changing invention, earn a promotion, and upgrade her meager status.
Empowered by code Willoy filched from the net, her newest invention, JayBee, shocks her by predicting an imminent disaster and saving the city. She finds the shy genius, Pramesh Patel, whose software gave JayBee clairvoyant powers. Pramesh reveals his secret: a team of magical digital avatars predicting the dynamics of society and the environment. Willoy pressures him to join her and form a startup company to build prescient robots.
To sponsor their launch, Willoy and Pramesh pique the interest of a powerful industry leader. But when Willoy discovers their benefactor’s plans to cut Pramesh out of the deal and destabilize the planet with their tech, she faces a terrible choice—betray her ally to gain elite status, or scrap her dream to save the world that undervalues her.
MINIMUM VIABLE PLANET features a diverse cast of humans, robots, and virtual characters. The book would appeal to fans of The Murderbot Diaries (Martha Wells) and Bandwidth (Eliot Paper).
I’m a Boston-based geek with relatives born in Hawaii, where much of the novel takes place. In this #ownvoices manuscript, I channel the experiences of a mixed-race woman striving to advance in tech. My non-fiction writing on design technology has appeared in journals and in two book chapters. My short fiction appears in the anthology 2047: Short Stories from Our Common Future, by Bisgaard, T. (Ed.).
Many thanks for your consideration.
First 250 Words:
BosCam, Mass; 2218
The commercial zone buzzed with the energy of a million citizens, cranking out services, keeping the utopia humming. Fifty floors below, in the airlock separating the high-rise lobby from a noxious atmosphere, cyber-engineer Willoy Kapule pressed her sweaty forehead against a metal panel and tried to predict the future.
The moment to retrieve her brainchild was evaporating. She tested the seals of her ash-colored environmental protection suit and tapped the time code on the side of a scuffed gray helmet packed with communication systems. Thirty minutes left.
Grub through trash for parts, hack, debug, reboot. She’d been attacking that cycle for years. Last night something clicked. This latest robot she built from discarded components passed every test and she smelled a breakthrough. If this junkbot succeeded in the final underwater trial, it would crush her competition. She could demo a killer product for the CEO and win a promotion. But if it failed, she’d skulk back to the office empty-handed. Again. No mind-blowing surprise for the boss, no accolades, no lunch.
The hatch jerked open, and a couple stepped into the space. They removed their headgear, exchanged a kiss, and turned toward her as the entry resealed.
“You’re supposed to be upstairs,” said the engineer who’d stolen the last promotion out from under her.
“Babysitting? Haul that weirdbot upstairs so we can reverse engineer it,” said the other, and they both laughed.
Willoy glowered. “Damn seal broke. This airlock just filled with toxic assholes.”