Standing The Final Watch by William Alan Webb
Nick Angriff awakens after sixty years to find the United States government destroyed, with a bizarre religious sect dominating the wreckage and enslaving the survivors. He is the commander of Operation Overtime, an elite military unit which had been stored in suspended animation against the possibility of national collapse, and resurrecting America becomes Angriff’s sacred duty.
Before he can save others, however, he must first stay alive. Angriff quickly discovers remnants of the extremist factions of the dead U.S.A. within his brigade, still fighting old battles, and he’s a target for both sides.
His choice is stark: dig out the threats within Operation Overtime first while watching innocents die, or risk assassination in order to fulfill his mission and end the slavery and slaughter.
I am a Creative Writing graduate of the University of Memphis, with a secondary concentration in History. Standing The Final Watch is a stand-alone SF thriller in the tradition of John Ringo’s Ghost series and David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers.
The book was designed as a platform for diversity in a genre that typically lacks it. In Nick Angriff’s 7th Cavalry, merit is the only qualification that matters. To that end, amid the fast pacing, realistic dialogue and plot twists, the reader is given information through the POV of Angriff that is, in many cases, false. If their biases lead them into the wrong conclusions, the hope is that the ending will help them see their own limitations behind the decisions they made.
The Book Doctors: We really enjoyed the Rip van Winkle decades-long nap that opens your pitch. And your main character Nick seems like a very cool tough guy. We love that he is put in a classic Sophie’s Choice situation. Either he tries to save a bunch of innocent civilians from dying and risk assassination, or he has to deal with the assassins in his immediate environment and watch innocent civilians die. Fantastic. We really enjoyed your comparable titles. Well done. It gives us a clear idea of what kind of book this is, and who the audience is. But what you have here is just the setup for a book. What does he do about the assassins? What does he do about the innocent civilians dying? And what does this America of the future actually look like? We would also like very much to see inside Nick, to understand more about what kind of person he is, what are the demons inside of him that he’s fighting. In your little summation at the end, you say this is a platform for diversity. But we see no evidence of that in your pitch. We don’t see any realistic dialogue, we have no evidence of excellent pacing, or plot twists. We don’t understand how the information that our hero gets is often unreliable. All of these claims you make in that last paragraph are great, we want all those things in this book, but they are not substantiated by proof in your pitch. We believe they’re probably there in your book, but we need to actually see you do this in the pitch so we know you can pull it off in the novel. It’s a very difficult thing to do, we understand that, but let’s face it, if it was easy, we’d be out of a job. Well conceived story idea about a man in the future caught between a rock and a hard place. Not enough concrete details that show us this future America, and how the basic concept here plays out.
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