Skyclyffe

Jeanette Moss McCurdy writing as Z. Moss

Book Cover

GENRE

ADVENTURE SCI-FI CHILDREN'S FUNNY FAMILY APOCALYPTIC

    Core Theme

    COMING OF AGE

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, HARRY POTTER SERIES, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

    CHARACTER LIST

    • REX BRIGHT: 13. CURIOUS, KIND, BUT LACKS CONFIDENCE

    • SUE BRIGHT: 42. SINGLE MOTHER OF REX

    • DAN BRIGHT: 51. UNCLE TO REX

    • AMELIA FROST: 10. NEW FRIEND AND TOUR GUIDE

    • CAPTAIN VANCE MERRIWEATHER: 25. SHIP CAPTAIN

    • MAGGIE O'SHEA: 39. GOVERNOR OF SKYCLYFFE

    Logline

    When a bullied, twelve-year-old boy and his family are abducted by a secret airship cloaked in a cloud, he must learn to stick up for himself or never set foot on Earth again.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 7-12

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    United States, Earth’s atmosphere within a cumulus cloud

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: LM Vintage Publishers

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Rex Bright is a regular teen with a few bullies and no dad. While on his way to his aunt and uncle’s for the summer, he glimpses a face in a cloud from a jetliner window. He passes her off as a figment of his imagination, but she’s quite real, and that brief sighting will change his life.

    Ending Description

    Rex’s family try to escape Skyclyffe but are caught. The Sky’ans explain their tech will cure Rex’s mom’s cancer. The Brights agree to stay when Skyclyffe promises to fetch Annie, Rex’s aunt who hadn't been abducted with them who's Alzheimer's can also be cured. Rex is happy to call Skyclyffe home.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1950521043

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Other

    Plot - Premise

    Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: Rex Bright

    Age: 13

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Insecure,Underdog,Obedient,Funny,Sarcastic

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    REX BRIGHT is a regular teen with a few bullies and no dad. From a jetliner’s window, he glimpses a face in a cloud. He passes her off as a figment of his imagination, but she’s real, and that sighting will change his life. Unaware that he saw anything special, Rex continues on his vacation and meets UNCLE DAN, a guy who bullies him, AUNT ANNIE who’s displaying first signs of Alzheimer’s, and RADAR, a German shepherd that fulfills Rex’s longtime desire for a dog. A week later, Uncle Dan takes Rex, Rex’s mom, and Radar up in his light plane. A force takes hold of the plane and pulls them into a giant airship lurking in a cloud. They’ve been abducted by Skyclyffe, a secret society airborne since 1936. Thinking Rex saw their ship from the jetliner, the SKY’ANS mean to keep the Brights forever. The Brights act content to stay on Skyclyffe while covertly seeking a way back home. The ship is filled with scientific marvels and art, including the Tonic, a machine that refurbishes people at a molecular level. Rex falls in love with Skyclyffe’s technology and people. But Aunt Annie is alone—returning home is more important than anything else. Rex devises a plan to escape, and the Sky’ans catch the Brights in the act. The Sky’ans insist they should want to stay for one particular reason: The Tonic will cure Rex’s mom’s cancer. When Uncle Dan learns it can take care of Alzheimer’s too, he makes them promise to fetch Annie. With that, the Brights agree to stay. Skyclyffe is Rex’s home.

    Genre

    COMEDY, ACTION, SUSPENSE, FANTASY

    Brief

    A young boy, his mother, and uncle are abducted while flying in a small aircraft by a secret airship hidden in the clouds. Upon entering this utopian world, the characters are treated kindly but still must adjust to their new setting. However, there are still loose ends back in the world that leaves them torn. In the end, they must make a choice to stay or look for an exit back to their reality.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    SECOND PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, it does reflect the book.

    Draw of Story

    The beginning of the book felt a little slower than necessary but once the main characters were abducted, I was very much drawn into the story. I didn't see it coming and thought it was executed well.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The plot seemed to wander slightly in the middle of the story. The introduction and descriptions of this "new world" and characters were great but not certain every scene moved the plot forward efficiently.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    They are abducted by a secret alien airship.

    Fanbase Potential

    Possibly, yes. It has the potential of a Star Wars sci-fi adventure for the YA audience. However, I feel much more story, plot points, and action would be required.

    Awards Potential

    Not many stories like this seem to attract the attention of awards.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, HARRY POTTER SERIES, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

    What’s New About the Story

    This story has plenty of original features. The secret airship, characters, and technology are creative and unique to this world.

    Lead Characters

    The lead characters really didn't stand out in comparison to the characters introduced later on in the narrative. The protagonist Rex, his mother Sue, and uncle Dan are just average folks thrust into a world filled with a host of eclectic characters

    Uniqueness of Story

    Not a rare gem. This is a good story but perhaps too shallow in content and would absolutely require some rewrites. Not enough going on regards to narrative arcs and the ending is a bit weak/lackluster as well. In the end, the protagonist really has no agency in determining his fate. The characters just finally accept their circumstances.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Not enough meat on the bones for a satisfying meal. Story is perhaps too one-dimensional. Potential is there, but not yet in a state deserving of a higher recommendation.

    Tips for Improvement

    Not enough meat on the bones for a satisfying meal. Story is perhaps too one-dimensional. Potential is there, but not yet in a state deserving of a higher recommendation.

    Brief

    When a bullied, thirteen-year-old boy and his family are abducted by a secret airship cloaked in a cloud, he must learn to stick up for himself, or never set foot on Earth again. In the end, his newfound ability to stick up for himself did not actually determine whether he will return back to earth or not.

    What We Liked

    - Skyclyffe is full of adventure. The audience follows Rex, the 13-year-old lead, as he is abducted and thrust into a vibrant new secret world resting in the clouds full of fantasy and mystery. The airship contains advanced novel technologies, plenty of interesting visuals, and no shortage of unique characters. Along the way and with the tough love from his uncle Dan, Rex gains the confidence to stand up for himself and stops the lifetime of bullying he has endured.
    - This story as a film would provide plenty of sci-fi "not from this world" visuals while providing the protagonist challenges to navigate.
    - Adapting to a TV format, the audience will follow Rex through a series of adventures and potential missteps while he makes himself familiar with his new surroundings. At the same time, Rex's curiosity seeks answers about alien life and a covert exit strategy.
    - Key points: Unique world; Clear central question: will they get off this ship; Interesting characters; New adventures; Underdog story

    Synopsis

    Rex Bright, 13, years old, sits next to his sleeping mother Sue on an airplane heading across the country. Hyper-aware of his surroundings, he is feeling all the usual first-time flyer anxieties. On top of everything, Rex looks out the window and is absolutely shocked by what he sees. Peering out over the wing and just in the distance, Rex spots a floating face of a young girl with wispy hair that appears to be staring right back at him. Not aware of it yet, this is the first bizarre event on this trip to Colorado that will forever change his life. Rex, not exactly an exemplar of self-confidence, is nervous about meeting his mother’s brother Dan and his wife Annie. Uncle Dan picks them up from the airport and things go awry almost immediately. His uncle is rough around the edges and starts to pick on him right away. Luckily on the upside, his Aunt Annie is very nice and the Bright family farm where they are staying for the summer promises to be full of adventures, including his uncle’s personal prop plane. One day after a weird dream with the same girl from the cloud and running around with the family dog Radar, Uncle Dan offers to take everyone up flying. At the last minute, Annie decides to stay back, so the rest hit the skies for a quick excursion.

    The flight is exhilarating and everything seems grand but suddenly the plane’s flight panel dies and the engine stalls. Uncle Dan radios for help but the communication is lost as well. Something odd occurs to them, however. The plane is not out of control or losing any elevation. Mysteriously, an unknown force guides the small plane into the belly of another larger vessel. It must be aliens! Well…almost. They are abducted by a secret airship that masks itself within the clouds, named Skyclyffe. Once onboard and being held against their will, Rex and his family meet the occupants of the airship. Unbelievably they are not aliens but instead humans, who promise no harm to them, from a technologically advanced utopian society existing solely on this aircraft designed by Nikola Telsa. The only catch is Rex’s family can’t leave as the airship cannot risk discovery. Despite their objection, Rex settles into his new environment and find it not just bearable, but quite nice. As promised they are not harmed and almost everyone is genuinely welcoming. Rex meets a host of characters and discovers from his new friend Amelia, that the girl from the cloud was not a figment of his imagination, but in fact, a real alien which fascinates him. One major problem remains however, they need to get back home because Aunt Annie is by herself with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The three agree to play along with the new routine but begin to covertly look for an escape.

    Uncle Dan remembers an emergency phone stashed in his plane. After meeting with a resident aboard the ship, who like him, arrived unconventionally, Rex devises a plan. While on a tour of the facility with Amelia, Rex tricks Amelia into showing him where the plane is being held. Sue manages to get their coordinates. Everything falls into place and the three of them go to make a 9-1-1 call for help before their big exit. Except someone manages to tip off the captain and the cell phone has no service or much battery left. It seems their attempt is hopeless. While they are initially defeated, Rex learns his mother has cancer and they can cure her onboard with their advanced medical technology. The crew makes a promise to Dan if they stay, to retrieve his sick wife and heal her as well. Having already been mostly content with their unexpected situation, they decide to stay and explore this new way of existence.

    About The Author

    Z. Moss lives in Stillwater, Minnesota and is currently working on the sequel to Skyclyffe. Two dogs, three cats, and two turtles run the household, including the real-life Radar.