Jul 7, 2013

QK Top 16: Adult SciFi

Entry Nickname: Zone Tripper
Title: Zone Trippers
Word count: 90,000
Genre: Adult SciFi


When a mystery disease causes soul transference among the infected, Owen MacIntyre is too logical to believe in the urban legend of Zone Trippers. After all, he holds an esteemed job at the CDC, managing the mass hysteria surrounding epidemics and preventing pandemics PR nightmares.

But when Owen’s only daughter, Eve, shows symptoms of the psychosis, claiming to be an Irish father of three, he can no longer dismiss the rumors. Owen is forced to face the fact that his estranged daughter is one of the fabled Zone Trippers. He locks Eve’s body in an asylum, ignoring the cycle of personalities who inhabit her body, while he searches the world for her soul.

When Eve’s body escapes the asylum, Owen finds an unlikely partner in Humberto, a temporary soul in Eve’s body. While Owen fervently researches Zone Tripper’s Disease, Humberto hastily constructs a website which allows Eve’s soul to attempt a journey home. But without warning, several soul swaps yank her further away until Owen loses contact with her entirely.

Meanwhile, the world is divided between two camps: the Statics and the Trippers; furthered by an unscrupulous reality television show which exploits the Trippers, while spreading false information and rumors.

Desperation turns to terror when Owen learns of a zone-tripping serial killer who has a get-out-of-jail-free card and a penchant for torture. A video blog details each gruesome murder and offers the first tangible clue in finding Eve’s soul.

Owen abandons logic and risks his job, his life, and his soul to rescue Eve, but he might have already lost the daughter he never really knew.

First 250 Words:

At the CDC, security was a formality but success was often elusive.

My name and title was printed on the magnetized card: “Owen MacIntyre, Executive Officer of Public Health Preparedness and Response.” But the machine squawked at me nonetheless.

A uniformed guard meandered over to me, gun at his hip and doubt in his eyes.


“The card reader isn’t working,” I said, uncaffeinated and irritated. My wife used to make coffee before work but now I was at the mercy of the dregs in the community pot upstairs. My daughter, Eve, only drank green tea.

The guard compared the photo to my face and swiped the card quickly. It gave a satisfying beep.

“Must be sun flares,” the guard replied, referring to yesterday’s memo. The advantage of working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the abundance of choices for blame. A flurry of potential disasters cluttered my in-box every morning. And every coincidence was the epicenter of an impending catastrophe.

I followed him past the open terminals to the bank of elevators.

“Thanks for the help,” I said, pressing four.

“No worries. Have a nice day saving the world.”

I didn’t bother to tell him I was in charge of press releases, not world-saving.

“There is another outbreak,” Rylan announced unceremoniously as I stepped off the elevator. My intern was partial to delivering bad news in person, rather than via email. “Another cluster of psychosis patients have been linked to the H2N8 virus. An intake ward in Phoenix is reporting a group of trippers.”

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