PW #127: Adult Science Fiction: ERGO SUM


Mentors: Dan Koboldt and Michael Mammay
Mentee: Elise Bungo
Category/Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 99,000


Ethan Ogden, a robotics prodigy suffering from PTSD, returns to Africa to work for a company with dubious motives. After an experimental nanotechnology treatment saves his life, he begins to question his own thoughts—and whether he’s still human—as he races to stop a civil war.


Sound always disappears first. I know the flight attendant’s said something, but by now I can’t even see her.

All I can see is the first child who tried to kill me. The girl’s drugged out of her mind as her weapon levels on my chest. I hold up my hands to show I’m unarmed. I beg in a frantic mix of pidgin French and Swahili, but she doesn’t hear. Her voice is shrill with panicked bravery, its pattern echoing the percussion of the AK-47s.

“Please,” I whisper, but the sound sticks in my fear-swollen throat.

She staggers, and her weapon sags. Blood blossoms from her chest, dousing the faded rainbow printed across her T-shirt in a final monochromatic red.

The flight attendant wrests away the empty glass. A dull ring floods my ears, and the silver sparks of memory drift away. It’s hard to breathe, but I refuse to gulp air like a lunatic. 

“We’re landing soon,” she says. Her accent is pleasant but clipped—German, not South African. She points at the seat, and I raise it dutifully, as if the three-inch recline could make a damn bit of difference to our landing.

I wonder what I looked like to that child in those last seconds before Christian blew a hole through her heart—a man, a boy, or some sort of cocaine and gunpowder chimera…

I swore I’d never go back. But that was then, before I’d exhausted every option.


Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

Share This Post On


  1. I’d like to see more! Please send me your full query and the first 15 pages with Pitch Wars in the subject line.

    Post a Reply
  2. I love this! Please send a query and the entire MS in a word doc to laura [at]!

    Post a Reply
  3. I’d love to take a look! Can you send along the query (pasted into the body of the email) and the full manuscript (attached as a .doc) when you have a moment to querylisa [at] awfulagent [dot] com? Also, please include Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line. Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  4. Hi Elise–I’d love to take a look! Please send the manuscript and a synopsis as Word doc attachments to Look forward to reading!

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

    Post a Reply
  5. I’d love take a look at the full manuscript. Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea [at] with “PitchWars Requested Manuscript” in the subject line. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading.
    Andrea Somberg
    Harvey Klinger Inc.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply to Andrea Somberg Cancel reply