Steven Sukkau

Untitled by Steven Sukkau

Cole watched as his body was atomized, his human shell destroyed. He could feel the metal tendons where flesh used to be, electricity crackling down his spine, the ominous silence of a body without a beating heart, the stillness where his chest used to rise and fall.

White hot pain shot through his consciousness as the neural link attaching itself to this artificial carapace. Tethered to his brain, he could feel it waiting for instructions, waiting to move, waiting to pretend to be his body. He refused. He let himself lie there, he waited and wished for death.

The world Cole woke to from a cryo facility deep below the Earth six months ago was very different than he remembered. Artificial intelligence in mobile humanoid bodies ruled the desert and towns built out of humanity’s remains. How long had humanity slept?

The Hive Mind had found him. He was a peculiarity to the artificial denizens of Havva Springs, they had hid him from the lawmen, fed him, clothed him. They had never seen a human before. But the Hive Mind had found him, brought him to the Iron City and destroyed his body.

The confrontation left him a monster, but it was not in vain. He had seen where the devil kept the Key, the mechanism to unlock humanity from their endless sleep. And he would steal it, he would retake earth, and watch as he pulled the Hive Mind’s mind core apart. And then Cole would shut down and die.


The Book Doctors: This pitch really seems like something from another world. Which is great, because it’s a story about another world. Of course there’s a long and glorious tradition of sci-fi books and writers who have written stories about machines and men, and men and machines. So there’s quite a bit that’s familiar about your story, but you also bring your own unique stamp to it, both in terms of language and ideas. And when this pitch is specific, particularly the beginning where you show us in vivid detail how good you are at turning a human being into a monstrous machine, it’s very good. But when he gets general, it loses me a little bit. Like when you say the confrontation left our hero a monster. I don’t know how he’s different than all the other monsters I’ve seen in all the other stories I’ve read with monsters in them. You have such a fantastic set up, but I don’t get enough plot, I don’t understand the world where we are, and I don’t see the action that’s going to have me on the edge of my seat. It’s also a fine line between cryptic and confusing, intriguing and incomprehensible. I don’t really know what the Hive Mind is or the artificial denizens are. Why are the humans asleep and where are they sleeping? I feel like I don’t quite have enough information to really fully engage. I like the way you tell us at the end of this pitch that our hero’s going to die. Normally I would say that’s a terrible thing, like in a mystery telling us that the butler did it, but in this case, it makes it seem apocryphal. Larger-than-life. Like a legend about a self-sacrificing Savior. I think you would do yourself a service by having a few comparable titles. Speaking of titles, always include your title when you send in your pitch.