FAMILY EPIC SCI-FI FANTASY RELIGIOUS ADVENTURE
INTERSTELLAR, STAR TREK, CONTACT, THE EXPANSE
JOSH SANTOS (M/0-40S) - LEAD. DISCIPLINED, INTELLIGENT, STRONG-WILLED, HEROIC.
IAN MICHAELS (M/50S-60S) - SUPPORTING. JOSH'S MENTOR. LEADER. SCIENCE-MINDED, WELL-SPOKEN.
SHANE WHITMORE (M/TEENS-40S) SUPPORTING JOSH'S RIVAL. VILLAINOUS, MEGALOMANIACAL, VINDICTIVE, DEVIOUS, CUNNING.
HOLLY MILANO (F/TEENS--40S) -- SUPPORTING. JOSH'S SECOND WIFE. LOYAL, THOUGHTFUL, COMPASSIONATE, NURTURING.
YAFFEE AGURO PATEL (M/20S--30S) -- SUPPORTING. JOSH'S RIGHT HAND MAN. STUDIOUS, OBSERVANT, COMMITTED, INTELLIGENT, LOYAL.
JAKE SANTOS (M/TEENS--40S) -- SUPPORTING. JOSH'S OLDER BROTHER. COMPETITIVE, A-TYPE, ASSERTIVE.
Josh, the youngest son of an ethnically mix family, is propelled into a dynamic situation, when he is befriended by an MIT professor. The same Professor, who happens to be the lead scientist working on a secret multi-government project called, “Barren Serenity” (reverse engineering downed alien spac
Target Gender: Male Leaning
New Bedford Mass, Dayton Ohio, Washington DC, The Moon, Mars, Space.
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: self-published
Year Published: 2021
Josh is aboard a space station orbiting Earth. He is broadcasting a message to his wife and soon to be born son; they will not receive this message for 20 years. Josh decides to explain to his son why he had to leave on this one way mission, in hopes to save the Earth from the beast he created.
Josh is faced with killing his son to save the universe and the multiverse from a devious plan to either rule or destroy them all.
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Mature Audience Themes
Plot - Other Elements
Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message
Plot - Premise
Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth
Main Character Details
Name: Joshua Emmanuel Santos
Key Traits: Modest,Aspiring,Adventurous,Faithful,Skillful,Sarcastic,Secretive,Leader
Additional Character Details
Name: Holly Marie Milano
Key Traits: Complex,Confident,Decisive,Honorable,Seductive,Romantic,Outspoken,Sexy,Faithful
Additional Character Details
Name: Shane Whitmore
Key Traits: Villainous,Narcisstic,Blunt,Confident,Aggressive,Sarcastic,Unapologetic,Decisive,Skillful
Additional Character Details
Name: Yaffee Aguro Patel
Key Traits: Modest,Underdog,Empathetic,Skillful,Selfless,Gracious,Visionary,Insecure,Honorable,Naive
RELIGION, FANTASY, ACTION
Josh Santos comes of age in a humble New England town, showing a prowess for all things STEM. As Josh completes his higher education, he is recruited to reverse engineer alien tech and later to save humanity from a black hole threat. After sacrificing a life with his pregnant wife in order to sequester the black hole, Josh is cast out of time. However, he is soon recovered by an old ally and thrust into the distant future in order to help ameliorate a conflict with an alien race.
Authors Writing Style: FAIR
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
Yes, it is a fair reflection. However, there are many typos, and the author could take more of an objective stance on his work while presenting it-- First person writing and phrases like "I think" editorialize what should be presented as concrete, confident, etc.
Draw of Story
What drew me into the story immediately was the interesting device of Josh telling a first-person account of his life to his unnamed/unknown son. This was an immediate and rather effortless way to differentiate this work from its competitors. The author is not the first to employ this device, but it does strike as fresh and welcome nonetheless.
There were a few things. For one, this work does seem to be a little bit bloated-- It seems there are many ideas and scenes that can be cut, condensed, or simplified. We really do start from Josh's birth and end with his death. A principle in storytelling is to start late and finish early-- Show the audience only what it vital for them to know, and allow them to work to fill in any gaps. This is especially applicable to Josh's early years, and also there seems to be much room for simplification in his life around the time Holly comes back into it. Secondly, the last 75 pages and the ending of this work struck as problematic in how busy and convoluted they are. The author asks too much of the audience in introducing countless new concepts and creatures. In many ways, it feels like the story is over when Josh is exiled after facing down the black hole. Everything after feels tangential in some ways. The ending twist that it was all just a story spun by an ordinary teenager was frustrating, too. Not only is it an entirely hackneyed, but it does not legitimize the stakes and sacrifices and frankly impact of the text at large. On a call last week about a different project that used the same device, a development executive called it an "objectively wrong" storytelling choice. Smaller notes are that the author could do a better job rendering the villainy of Shane-- He seems to only pop up when this work needs a villain, and it never feels like his motivations are grounded or earned as much as they could be. Lastly, there are dozens of typos in this text, mostly with commas and apostrophes, strangely. Simple mistakes like these are sure to jar the reader, especially in consideration for adaptation to screen.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is that this is an epic, visually-driven, sci-fi bonanza. It borrows from works like INTERSTELLAR, STAR TREK, and even CONTACT, it raises many an interesting philosophical question, and it is sure to cater toward fans of the genre with its action and creature features.
Perhaps. This seems to check a lot of the boxes for fan-sanctioned genre fare. However, there is no question that this work would have steep competition from already established sci-fi IP. A large fanbase is possible, but it is certainly a steep incline.
No, this is not an awards contender. It simply does not check any of the usual boxes for what earns nominations, and it seems much more geared toward popcorn entertainment and crowd-pleasing.
Similar Films/TV Series
INTERSTELLAR, STAR TREK, CONTACT, THE EXPANSE
What’s New About the Story
What is original about this story is that it is comprised of a father telling his life story to his son. It's not a new storytelling device, per se, but it is given new life in its application to massive sci-fi. What is interested about this work, also, is how expansive it is within its genre constraints. It seems to borrow the best elements from a variety of disparate genre fare.
Josh stands out for his strong moral code, which is complicated by his relationships. He is a man of great discipline and intelligence, which sometimes hurts his relationships, like with Jenna. This feels raw and honest. Josh's convictions lead him to sacrifice living his life with his wife and family, too, and he stands out for this impossible degree of inner strength and sense of common good.
Uniqueness of Story
No, this is not a rare gem. While it has many interesting ideas and presents endless opportunity for visual spectacle, there are handful of problems that prevent it from being considered a rare gem. Namely, the villain in Shane feels a bit undercooked/underdeveloped, there seems to be much opportunity to cut, condense, and simplify a complicated plot that can sometimes feel protracted and convoluted, and the ending strikes as too familiar and even cheap. None of this is to consider the many typos that frequent this work, which should be fixed immediately if it is to be seriously considered for adaptation.
Film: Studio, Streaming TV Series: Network, Cable, Limited Run / Mini-Series, Streaming
WORK IN PROGRESS
This is a work in progress due to the handful of opportunities for improvement listed above. Shane could be better rendered and grounded as the villain, and the ending strikes as frustrating and overly familiar. Paired with a thorough combing through for typos and opportunities to simplify this text, reconsidering these areas would only help this work.
Tips for Improvement
The author would need to comb through this text to identify opportunities to cut, condense, and simplify a plot that can sometimes feel bloated and overly complex, especially in the final 75-or-so pages. Moreover, the villain in Shane and the ending should be reconsidered, and the many typos should be addressed, too.
Dr. Josh Santos is recruited to reverse engineer alien technology that may hold the key to preserving the future of the human rise. Later, Josh leads an expedition to colonize alien worlds before facing down the perilous threat of a ravenous black hole.
What We Liked
This work stood out for its sheer abundance of visual spectacle. This work seems to borrow from the best elements of a variety of other well-known sci-fi properties, reappropriating them into a world of its own. Moreover, it has no shortage of interesting, sometime novel concepts, and it asks a plethora of engaging philosophical questions. All in all, fans of the genre will find a buffet of sci-fi concepts, questions, and spectacle in this work.
Film: This would be a solid adaptation for film due to its moments of catharsis and impact that tie into its spectacle-driven plot and imagery. There are several scenes and sequences that play out so vivid in the mind's eye already as if they are on an IMAX screen. The emotion paired with the spectacle will be sure to entice an audience. The concept here has been proven thanks to the success of works like INTERSTELLAR and STAR TREK.
TV: This would make a solid TV adaptation due to the sheer scope of its story. We essentially peruse and entire lifetime of a character, following him through impossible tasks, visiting alien worlds, and facing down a number of different adversarial forces. In fact, there are many concepts in this work that don't seem to have enough time to marinate and develop, and the longer-format of TV might just be the perfect vehicle to executing this work at its fullest potential.
1. The limitless, well-rendered spectacle.
2. The escapism of space exploration.
3. The impossible choices our hero must make.
4. The many thought-provoking philosophical questions.
5. The countless futuristic and sci-fi world-building elements.
In first person, JOSH SANTOS tells the story of his life to his unnamed son. Starting with his birth in Massachusetts, Josh takes us through his childhood with his athletic older brother JAKE and his frenemy SHANE. We follow Josh as he develops a connection with coed HOLLY and later JENNA. In his teen years, Josh displays a certain prowess for STEM, and he finds a mentor in Jenna's father, IAN MICHAELS. Josh spends time working in machine repairs, making a small name for himself, as he continues to come of age. Years pass, and Josh completes his secondary education, earning a Ph.D. His relationship with Jenna has bloomed, and his friendship and mentorship with Ian remains strong.
Soon, Ian and Josh visit a base on the moon, and Josh clued into the alien technology that was recovered at a crash site in the 1940s. With that, Josh begins work to reverse engineer the alien ship, with the hopes that it will yield revolutionary technology for humankind. Before long, Josh's long hours result in his marriage with Jenna coming to an end. Josh, we learn, has visions of an apocalyptic future, one where his family all perishes and where he is evidently married to childhood love Holly. Josh works hand-in-hand with the astute Dr. YAFFEE AGURO PATEL, while Shane stays in Josh's network in the field, making a name for himself separately. Eventually, Josh, Aguro, Ian, and co. are able to test an alien tech vessel. They discover an imminent threat in the form of a black hole, and Ian is killed in an accident.
Soon, Josh and Aguro shift their focus to rescuing the human race from the looming black hole threat in coordination with the President and military. Josh continues to have visions of the future and visions of communion with heavenly entities. Soon, Holly comes back into Josh's life, as well as her daughter ANDREA, who becomes a close stepdaughter-of-sorts to Josh. Josh discovers, though, that Holly is working on behalf of an agency to watch over Josh's work and ensure his discretion. Soon, Josh and his family visit the moon base and later travel to far off alien worlds, seeking a new home for humanity. They visit another alien world, leaving tens of thousands of colonists behind to set up bases. Before long, Josh comes to blows with the President and his men, scornful at their willful inaction in saving humanity. It's not just the black hole that perils earth, but riots, conflicts, and rising oceans threaten life as we know it, much less the status quo. Holly and Josh soon get married and consummate their love and later discover that she is pregnant.
Soon, the earth starts to come undone-- Volcanoes erupt, and tsunamis ravage the coasts. The need to escape the dying planet becomes profound and immediate. Josh and his family narrowly escape and arrive at the encampment colony on the alien world. Josh realizes what he must do-- He must venture back to the Milky Way to vanquish the black hole. He says a heartfelt goodbye to his wife, Andrea, and his brother Jake, and he heads out into space with a sentient spaceship with Shane aboard. On the ship, Josh exposes Shane for contributing to the destruction of earth. While Josh is unable to completely destroy the ravenous black hole, he devises a way to trap it, preventing it from growing and staving off its intergalactic threat for the foreseeable future. Josh becomes overwhelmed and incapacitated, and he soon finds himself on a remote beach, alone. Thus begins a months long exile-- Josh lost in space and outside of time.
However, a form of Aguro comes to visit Josh, cluing him into how time has moved on without him due to his toiling with the black hole. Aguro iterates the standards of this distant future era-- Immortality has essentially been achieved by way of uploaded consciousnesses and synthetic bodies. Humanity brushes shoulders with dozens of alien species, too, including a race of creatures that evolved from intelligent crystal form. Soon, Josh finds himself at the head of negotiations with this alien race, which has come to regard Josh's late brother Jake as a savior figure. Soon, Josh realizes that his son, NIAN, has taken control of a faction of them and has developed megalomaniacal aspirations. Josh tries to plead with his son, faced with the choice of possibly killing him, but it is soon revealed to be Shane behind it all. In the end, Josh's corporeal form is destroyed aboard a ship while he's beside his wife. Nian then takes control of the narrative, professing his love for his parents.
After, we flash back to the real world in Massachusetts, where Josh finishes telling the story to his buddy Shane, who asks Josh why he decided to make him the villain-- A twist that the events of the film are purely fiction from the ordinary teenager in Josh.