The day I decided to turn my query into comedy

I haven’t posted in a while, but I finally have really good news to share: my humorous science-fiction novel Terminal 3 will be released on September the 1st (tentative date). I thought about starting using this blog to share a few updates concerning that release, but since I have none other than the date (and the fact that the cover art is a work in progress but the artist is going in a direction I really really like), I will share what got this sale done: the query letter.

The query I sent to Mobius Book was a product of a process where I had submitted a much more formal, serious even, letter to other publishers and agents, resulting in rejections. So I took a big risk and spiced things up by writing a funny letter. I mean, my novel is a work of comedy, so why not? You can read the query letter below.

Dear Editor, 

Close your eyes and imagine… oh wait, you need eyes to read my query, huh? Fair enough. Skip the closing-eyes thing and stick to the imagining. Image the future. No. Not the flossy-glossy one that feels like riding a Tesla driven by an Ayn Rand clone on cocaine. Imagine… No. Neither that one… too dystopian, post-apocalyptic and, let’s be real, kinky – unless you are not into leather. Let’s try again: imagine the future… a future… that is somewhere in between a white straight libertarian wet dream with sexbots and a nightmare Greta Thunberg had during a nap after she ate an expired tofu chimichanga. Can you see that? No? Fair enough, let me cut to the chase then.  

The time is the early 22nd century and we, humans, lucked out: it turned out that Earth is in the “fabulous side of the galaxy”. Literally, that’s how they name it. The “fabulous side of the galaxy” is located between Perseus and Sagittarius galactic arms. Just after we humans figured out we are not alone, we got an invitation from our galactic neighbors from the fabulous side to join the wealthy Galactic Confederation (kinda like Nextdoor.com, but a little less creepy and a little more gentrified). In exchange, Earth had to provide a hub for travelers coming from and going to the Norma and Scotus-Centaurus arms, also known as the “fucked up side of the galaxy”, as their planets are not part of the Galactic Confederation and are struggling economically and politically. (Yes, I just dropped an F-bomb in my query letter. Also, I’m very aware that a certain asshole would call them shithole planets. I’m not an asshole, but I’m Brazilian, and Brazil is fucked up, so I can make that joke, kay? Good, moving on.) 

So, remember the hub I mentioned? It turns out that this hub is Los Angeles’ Spaceport’s Terminal 3. T3 is overcrowded, has an unfriendly staff and is on the verge of collapse. But it’s not totally bad:  J Wing’s toilet stalls have the dopest cruising scene in the quadrant. 

And then there’s our protagonist: Gabe Chagas. What he has to do with Terminal 3? Well, his mother Cida was a spaceport security guard. However, when he was 9 years old, back in 2109, Cida was presumed dead after what seemed to be a quantum terrorist attack at her workplace. 

After that Gabe spent the rest of his childhood and teen years in Los Angeles’s foster care system and, once emancipated in 2119, he decided to try to realize his dream of becoming a spaceport security guard, in part because he wanted to follow his mother’s footsteps, and in part because he received a cryptic message stating that he should show up at Gate 665 if he wanted to know the truth about what happened to Cida.

See, Gabe could feel in his guts that there was something off with the quantum terrorist attack version of what happened to his mom. As a member of the Terminal’s hapless security personnel, he will face challenges and be pushed to abhorrent chores such as deporting aliens for a living, unaware that his own residency in the 22nd century is jeopardized due to his mother’s status as an undocumented time traveler.

As I mentioned I am a Brazilian writer currently based in the US. I live with my husband in Rehoboth Beach, the gayest city of Delaware (one of the reasons why we decided to move here from a very red suburb of Pittsburgh). I published a novella in Portuguese a long time ago and a few months ago I sold my first short-story in English to NewMyths.com (they made me remove all the F-bombs). If you want to know more about me, NewMyths.com made me answer some biographical questions that you can see here.    

As you might have guessed, Terminal 3 is a SF/Humor Novel in the 70,000 word range and was written originally as a TV pilot that was a semi-finalist in the SeriesFest’s Storytellers Initiative. Terminal 3 is about flawed humans trying to be better in a flawed society that… is not really trying to do better, at all. It’s about my experience as an immigrant and a social commentary about that craziness around us. Hope you can give it a shot. If not, I appreciate the time you spent reading my query.

Per your guidelines, you can find the first ten pages of my novel’s first chapter pasted below. 

Best regards,

Illimani Ferreira 

Published by IFSciFi

Science Fiction Writer

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