Something Wicked This Way Comes

william todd

Book Cover

GENRE

HORROR SCI-FI HISTORICAL FICTION GOTHIC

    Core Theme

    GOOD VS EVIL

    TIME PERIOD

    19th Century

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    ALIEN THE TERROR; THE THING; GHOST SHIP

    CHARACTER LIST

    JERICHO MANNION: LATE 30S. LEAD. MORAL AND DETERMINED.

    TAL MACTAVISH: LATE 30S. JERICHO’S BROTHER IN LAW AND BEST FRIEND, FIRST MATE ON THE SHIP.

    CHARLOTTE GORDON: 30S. RECENTLY WIDOWED MOTHER AND PASSENGER ON THE SHIP, TAL’S LOVE INTEREST.

    WILLIAM ROSS: LATE 50S. UNIVERSITY SCIENTIST WHO’LL SACRIFICE ANYTHING FOR THE ALIEN CARGO THEY’RE TRANSPORTING.

    BILLY FOX: 15. NEW SHIP HAND AND JERICHO’S LONG LOST SON, THOUGH NEITHER IS AWARE.

    ALFRED WALKER: 50-60S. UNIVERSITY SCIENTIST WORKING WITH ROSS, SIDES WITH JERICHO AND THE CREW OVER ROSS’S CRAZY IDEAS.

    Logline

    1888. A cash-strapped ship captain reluctantly agrees to carry a secret cargo from an archeology dig near Toledo to Buffalo for study. What no one knows is something in the crates of that cargo is alive and is now killing passengers and crew. Who will survive when Something Wicked This Way Comes.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    The sidewheel steam ship, Orion, on Lake Erie, August 1888.

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: KDP/ Amazon

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    Jericho Mannion is a cash-strapped captain who has been losing money to the railroads. He is offered double the fare from William Ross, the leader of a university archeology dig, to take a 14-hour, non-stop trek across Lake Erie. The only catch--don't ask what's in the crates.

    Ending Description

    Not knowing how to stop an alien, it is decided to scuttle the ship in the deepest part of the lake with the creature still inside. The catch is they are also battling a storm in the middle of the night. They have to trade one danger for another. Mannion stays on board to battle the creature.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Jericho Mannion

    Age: 38

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Leader,Strong Moral Code,Romantic,Selfless,Masculine,Complex,Confident,Faithful,Heroic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Tal MacTavish

    Age: 37

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Charming,Confident,Engaging,Heroic,Heartthrob,Leader,Sarcastic,Funny,Outspoken,Blunt,Obedient,Masculine

    Additional Character Details

    Name: William Ross

    Age: 58

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Crazy,Desperate,Greedy,Educated,Villainous,Narcisstic,Power Hungry,Skillful,Secretive,Manipulative

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Charlotte Gordon

    Age: 30

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Badass,Charming,Confident,Sexy,Blunt,Outspoken,Skillful,Heroic,Engaging

    Development Pitch

    Something Wicked This Way Comes is first and foremost a story about survival. Not just bodily survival but also moral and economic survival, as well. I think with the type of storyline it has and the action within it the story would lend itself very well to movie adaptation. It is a horror story with sci-fi and thriller elements. Jericho Mannion often talks to his dead wife who comes to him in dreamlike states that often overtake him. He longs to be with both her and his son, who perished in a ship sinking and has almost a borderline deathwish if it weren't for the fact that he has a crew that depends on him for their livelihood. The entire story takes place in the span of a single day, so there is a lot of action squeezed into a short amount of time. It takes place on a steamship, in the middle of Lake Erie, in a storm so there are multiple characters confined in a small space having to battle both an alien creature and Mother Nature, either of which could spell the end for any or all of them. Jericho decides the only way to kill it is to scuttle the ship in the deepest part of the lake. Everyone knows they are trading one danger for another but absent a better idea, they agree to get into lifeboats and brave the storm rather than the alien. Jericho stays behind as he still has to get the Orion into deeper water and during this time, he has the final confrontation with the beast as he prepares to blow up the Orion with a boiler explosion in the engine room.

    Genre

    THRILLER, ACTION, DRAMA, FANTASY

    Brief

    Jericho is the captain of The Orion, with a boat full of people and some unusual cargo. Passengers are found dead all over the ship by an unknown creature. The ships crew tries to get to shore but Jericho realized the creature needs to be destroyed before it can kill more people on land. In a last ditch effort, Jericho sacrifices himself to kill the creature but is united with his wife and son on the other side.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    LARGE BUDGET

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: EXCELLENT

    Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

    Pace: EXCELLENT

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes ,the book profile accurately reflects the book.

    Draw of Story

    The story begins with a possible meteor hitting Earth. The story gets straight to the point by setting up the plot and the genre from the start.

    Possible Drawbacks

    There wasn't anything that made me want to put the book down. The story was interesting and well written. It was somewhat predictable as a creature story.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that a boat full of people are being killed by an alien creature. It is set in 1888 and not in the present or the future. This adds to the suspense because they do not have modern tools to dispense with the alien. There is suspense and science fiction. It is always interesting being introduced to an alien with unique attributes. The ethos behind it and how it operates and kills is what makes it stand apart from other similar stories.

    Fanbase Potential

    This could have a large fanbase because alien films are generally popular. It is also a period film and the intersection of that with science fiction is always entertaining. It is also graphic which heightens the drama and the stakes.

    Awards Potential

    This could have awards potential because there are some great character moments. Jericho has lost his wife and son and is struggling to survive. His finally act is to blow up the ship and sacrifice himself so that the crew and passengers can get to shore. He is visited by the spirit of his wife who guides him. She is with him as he is killed by the alien, helping him pass on to the other side. That role could be developed even further.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    TITANIC, COWBOYS VS. ALIENS, ALIENS , DEEP BLUE SEA

    What’s New About the Story

    The story is not completely unique. It is set in 1888 on a boat, instead of 2088 on a spaceship in a galaxy far ,far away. The alien is unique to the story in looks, moves and how it kills which would be entertaining to audiences.

    Lead Characters

    The lead character stands out because he is a grieving man just trying to survive. He believes he lost his family but realizes the crew are also his family. He turns into a hero because of the circumstances.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is a well done science fiction story. It does not revolutionize anything about the genre but it stands apart from other alien stories.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    RECOMMEND

    Justification

    This is a solid science fiction, alien story with heart. There are many human moments between Jericho, his crew and passengers. His death is very memorable and gruesome. The alien offers many interesting scenes especially as it goes through the ship killing passengers. There is a lot of shock, awe and some carnage.

    Brief

    In 1888, a down on his luck captain agrees to ferry unknown cargo across Lake Erie for university scientists willing to pay extra to keep their secrets. Little does he know that their crates contain an alien that crashed to Earth and isn’t as dead as the professors initially assumed. As the alien begins to pick off both crew and passengers alike one by one, the captain must do whatever he can to protect his ship and those left alive.

    What We Liked

    The story starts strong with the alien’s crash landing and carries on at a fantastic, breakneck pace throughout. The alien’s slow path through the crew and passengers, picking them off one by one, is so smart because it increases the suspense. The audience knows what’s going on before anyone else, which keeps the dramatic tension high, too. We’re terrified to see who it will come across next, just as fear grows among those on the ship. What’s more, Charlotte’s character is unique and inspiring. She’s a female sharpshooter who’ll do whatever it takes to protect herself and her son, and she’s soundly one of the heroes in the story. That’s so rare in a male-dominated story, especially for one set in the 19th century.

    Film: From beginning to end, this is a sci-fi horror film waiting to happen. It’s quick and concise, and the story is left pleasingly open at the end. With all the thrilling elements and tangible atmosphere one could want, a straight adaptation of the book in its current form would work well. The plot is already well-structured to that end, and the contained atmosphere keeps the budget manageable. This would make for a memorable and rewatchable film that would find an easy path to success and a large fanbase. It can be simply pitched as “ALIEN set in 1888,” too.

    TV: All of the main characters leap off the page and are original and memorable in their own ways. From Charlotte, who’s a better shot than any of the men, to Jericho, a compassionate captain burdened by the loss of his wife, everyone has singular traits and unique dialogue. Television is the perfect way to capitalize on how strong these characters are, and it’s easy to see this as a limited (or even anthology) series. It could be structured similarly to something like THE TERROR, which delves deep into each character in individual episodes while still driving the overall narrative forward.

    Key points: Authentic, eerie atmosphere; Easily adaptable structure; Truly terrifying moments and ideas ; Strong characters; High concept

    Synopsis

    Professor WILLIAM ROSS’s dreams come true when an alien craft crashes onto his BROTHER’s farmland in Ohio in 1888. Though he’s unpopular with others in his department, Ross gets to lead the research team in collecting the remains of the crash — and the alien inside it. He hires a ship to take them across Lake Erie back to Buffalo and pays CAPTAIN JERICHO MANNION extra to keep the contents of the crates entirely confidential. Jericho and his first mate and brother in law, TAL, hate not knowing what they’re transporting, but they need the money to keep the ship running. The few passengers aboard are also going to Buffalo, so Jericho decides to make a straight shot for it. Only a few on Ross’s research team know about the alien body traveling with them, and no one expects its pieces to join back together. The alien is weak, but the more humans it consumes, the stronger it gets. Its food source is plentiful on the ship, and it begins by picking off the WATCHMAN the university employed to watch over the crates in the cargo hold. When Ross learns what has happened, he doesn’t tell Jericho. He wants to communicate with the alien, which clearly has far superior technology to their own. A body here or there is no matter in pursuit of the scientific greater good. Jericho only learns there’s something amiss when widowed passenger CHARLOTTE GORDON’s son BENNY swears he saw a sea monster eat someone while he was exploring the ship.

    Jericho confronts Ross when he finds what’s left of the watchman, but the alien is already onto its next target, a CREW MEMBER this time, causing the ship to malfunction. Jericho sees to the ship as Tal gathers everyone else in the central parlor. Tal forces Ross to tell everyone what’s going on, and the passengers and crew alike are understandably shocked. Ross insists they must try to communicate with the alien. Against his better judgement, Jericho agrees that if they’re able to capture it safely, Ross can try. When Ross and ANOTHER PROFESSOR attempt to, Ross ends up feeding his coworker to it to save his own skin. He lies to the others about what occurred, and everyone else agrees it’s too dangerous and must be stopped.

    Jericho realizes they can’t dock with the alien on the ship without risking it coming ashore. He and Tal hatch a plan to steer into a bay where they can get everyone onto lifeboats and row to shore. Then Jericho will scuttle the ship in the deepest part of the lake to protect humanity. While Jericho gets everything ready, Tal stays with the passengers to try to defend them. He learns that Chalotte is their best defensive chance, as she used to be a sharpshooter in a Wild West show. While Jericho skulks around his own ship hoping not to draw the alien’s attention, Tal and those gathered in the parlor hatch a plan to kill it. They’re nearly successful in cornering it so they can attack, but Ross gives away their position to save it.

    When Jericho gets the ship to calm enough waters, Tal and the remaining crew shepherd everyone to the lifeboats. To Tal’s dismay, Jericho is staying aboard the ship to ensure they’re successful. Professor ALFRED WALKER cautions Jericho that drowning the alien likely won’t be enough since it reanimated before; Jericho needs to blow it up. As the two lifeboats hit the water, Ross stages a last attempt to get his way. He holds the BARTENDER piloting his own boat at gunpoint and demands to Tal, in the other boat, that he needs to go back up. Tal doesn’t want anyone else put in harm’s way, and Charlotte puts her skills to use and shoots and kills Ross from the other, rocking boat. They leave him to the lake and row to shore. Jericho is killed by the alien, but he manages to rig the the ship to explode first. A year later, the official story is that the boiler exploded on the ship. There’s been no sighting of the alien since.

    About The Author

    William Todd has been writing online for nearly 20 years, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft.