In Mission 51 I tell the story of the alien who landed in the American desert southwest in 1954, a place we now call Area 51. The story was told to me by the linguist, Dr. Linda Deltare, who served as the alien’s translator and became his good friend. The alien’s name is Mat (that’s with a “soft t,” according to Dr. Deltare.)
The protagonist Mat lives in a time when interplanetary and trans-galactic travel is possible - not routine and perfected, just possible. The story starts on Mat’s fascinating home planet where we learn about his people and their multiple attempted missions to the faraway planet they know as “Cerulea.” As the captain of Mission 51, Mat and a small crew embark on an exciting and tragic 50 light-year voyage from their home planet to Cerulea, a trip that takes hundreds of years. Mat reaches his destination in a dramatic crash landing, as the sole survivor. We then learn that Cerulea is, in fact, the planet Earth and Mat has arrived in the post-WW-II, post-Korean War, Cold War era of the USA in 1954, a historical time of immigrant deportations.
The heart of Mission 51 is what happens after that, here on Earth. Mat is held captive, interrogated, and somewhat mistreated, but he uses that time to learn about us and to cleverly enact his own agenda. He eventually escapes, with the help of Dr. Deltare, and enjoys a thrilling cross-country adventure despite relentless pursuit by a number of interested parties. He learns to blend in. This SciFi/historical fiction/period piece ends in 1969 in Cape Kennedy, where Mat is shocked to meet one of his own kind, pursuing her own mission in her own dastardly way. This opens possibilities for continuation of the story in an anticipated book two, which will take the story to the present and the near future.
Mat is the ultimate outsider, a stranger in a strange land doing his best to fit in. He has hopes, dreams, desires, and a mission. He has a lot to give and he also wants his piece of the American pie. This is his new home after all. Yet everything is difficult for him because he is so different from everyone else. He wants to embrace his new home planet and its people, but he is not accepted or tolerated in return. He feels truly alienated.
At its core, this is an immigrant story that is out of this world, intended to resonate with our current state of affairs. Mat’s story may be unique, but it parallels the immigrant experience many of us have lived. He survives, with a little help from his friends. For better or for worse, he lives to carry out his mission. Like so many immigrants who have labored and suffered, he is an agent of change.
In this original drawing from the chapter “Janusia,” Petrus reveals the ship Janusia to his son, Mat.
The following are comments about this book, from the Formal Feedback Notes of The Tracking Board’s 2016 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. Since that time, this book is now complete.
"This is a knockout premise, and those are very rare.”
"The fact that Mat’s story... is an immigrant story, takes this premise from being a great high concept to being a great high concept with real emotional subtext, and one that has resonance with our modern world today.”
"The pages here consistently communicate the story clearly, with great momentum, and a very palpable sense of empathy for ALL the characters... This is a great read, and a very capable execution of a highly evocative premise. This project has tremendous potential.”
"The quality of the writing here, not just on the conceptual level, but also in terms of the story in these pages and the writing of that story, is uniformly strong. The dialogue’s good too, voice specific and smart in its use of subtext.”
"This project feels like it has strong potential for either a TV or feature adaptation, and stands on its own as a great read as a manuscript."
Additional recommendations can be found in the "Reviews" section above.
Chris Pyke - click to learn more!
Idan Carré - click to learn more!
Lea - colorist
Check out some of their work on the Mission 51 Pinterest board!
I would love for you to join us on this trip! Please follow Mission 51 by clicking the "Follow" link at the top of this page, to keep informed of important developments.
Better yet, click one of the green PRE-ORDER buttons to reserve your copy! Pre-orders is how Inkshares decides which books to publish. The magic number is 250 pre-orders for publication. Alternatively, placing in the top 3 of the Nerdist Contest guarantees Mission 51 the full publishing treatment. So please, place your pre-order today!
And please enjoy the samples of Mission 51 in the "Read" section above, taken from different points along the story.
Thank you very much for your interest. I welcome you to the awesome family of Mission 51. Let’s make this book a reality!