When the switchboard operators of Retropolis are suddenly made redundant after an efficiency review, they find they’ve been replaced by a mysterious system they don’t understand. Nola Gardner pools their severance pay to hire Dash Kent, freelance adventurer and apartment manager, to find out what’s happened to their jobs.
That simple question leads Dash and Nola down the strangest streets of Retropolis, in the Future That Never Was, where robots consider the effectiveness of collective bargaining; where scientific research has been contained in a single neighborhood – by statute – to limit the regrettable side effects of innovation; where the world’s smallest giant robot rumbles toward its destiny with steps that cover an inch or two at a time; and where that question ‘What the heck happened to my job?’ leads ultimately to the Moon and back in an antique rocket that may be past its sell-by date.
Retropolis has found ways to contain its abundance of Mad Science. But in Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom we learn that if a civil engineer goes mad… he knows how to build madness on a scale that’s never been seen before.
Here’s a cover concept and synopsis for Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom, because I guess I just don’t have enough to do while I edit my way through its (now) slightly more than 103,000 words.
That was irony, if you didn’t notice. I have plenty to do. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve made two pencil passes through the printed manuscript, and then applied those edits. That leaves me three short scenes to write (because I wasn’t sure I needed them before) and two large scenes to rewrite; then, after one more complete pass through the book, I hope to have a pretty solid second draft – probably a couple of weeks from now. How solid? Will there be a third draft? Ask me in a couple of weeks.
I try to avoid questions like those by working on cover concepts and the synopsis. I am adept at outmaneuvering my brain.
The synopsis is an interesting exercise but it may also be pretty important. That’s because this time I figure I’ll try shopping the book around to agents and then – who knows? – maybe to traditional publishers. I’d like to see what happens. And a good synopsis, which this may or may not be, is something I’ll need when that day comes.
And then – while the world rejects me repeatedly – I can get to work on the illustrations.