Name: Norma Johnson-MacGregor
Genre: YA SF/F
Pitch: Virtual Environment Ten—VEX—turns deadly when Tana, 16, discovers something wants to download itself into her body and take over her life.
1st 250 words:
I tried to ignore the steady hum of the computers that filled the sterile, white walled room. “Don’t you think it’s a little weird?”
“He meant for this technology to be used by someone,” Shane said. “It was all he cared about…toward the end.” His voice choked to a halt. I placed a tentative hand on Shane’s broad shoulder, offering all the support I dared without breaking the fragile ease that existed between us.
Toward the end. Shane meant before his father died down here. Before he was driven to obsession by the virtual universe he’d created. It had been common for him to spend days in the lab perfecting it. His body hadn’t been found until two days after his death. I looked around, the large room. I couldn’t imagine locking myself away here. The thought of a body being found in this room made my skin crawl.
Despite all of the books that and file cabinets that lined the walls, the room still managed to feel cold and empty. An oversized oak desk stood against one wall, covered by a keyboard, mouse and scattered papers that were filled with complicated looking diagrams and notes. A huge computer monitor was mounted to the wall, its impersonal blue screen staring at us. Several computers lined the floor under the desk, all linked together in a network, Shane had told me, in order to provide the energy needed to power whatever program his dad had been working on.