Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Holding Company Loves You

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Our friend and colleague L.V. Torio’s The Holding Company Loves You has made it through the ABNA quarter-finals and we are confident that this
quirky dystopic (shall we say Pynchonesque?) novel will make it all the way to the finals. At least we hope so, for L.V. has promised the FMA gang a night
out on the town if he makes it — and this is a gang that takes its trencher work  seriouly! Below are L.V.’s pitch and the first round of reviews. Let us know what you think!
The FindMyAudience Team

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PITCH

LuAnne Molinari-Burton is a fifteen-year-old paintball marksman whose one wish is to play in the Outstanding Outstravaganza Games, a gravity-defying  X-Games-like spectacle held in the deserts of Utah.   But she has two  problems.  The first – that she is six month’s shy of the age of  admission – is easily solved when she steals her Aunty Patty’s ID.  The  second is thornier.  There’s a creepy government agent from the  Environmental Police (the GreenFuzz) trying to take her into custody for reasons unknown.  Could this have something to do with the  fact that LuAnne’s father, a brilliant MIT professor who abandoned her  years’ before, is the architect of the pattern-matching risk-assessment  algorithms that lie at the heart of this near-future America’s social  order? Welcome to the world of THE HOLDING COMPANY LOVES YOU  (80,000 words), where weaselly Claims Adjusters monitor your every  purchase and brutal Damage Appraisers double as knee-capping enforcers  for an insurance industry monopoly supercharged by high tech data  mining.  Got high cholesterol?  Expect a thirty dollar upcharge on that pasta dinner.  Kid’s got ADD?  It’ll cost an extra week’s  allowance for her to see the latest blow-em-up at the omniplex. While LuAnne is pursued in a desperate motor-bike ride East, aided by a gang  of ganga-toking Dutch parasailers, others work secretly to thwart the  The Holding Company’s insidious power: A.W. Stoops, a personal injury  lawyer operating on instructions from a shadowy advocacy group; Caroline Lurie, a brassy, beautiful Professor of Forensic Economics at Harvard;  and Stan Burton, LuAnne’s Dad, filled with regrets, who conspires with  his MIT students, the Reverse Engineers, to bring down the world he  helped create.  Their missions converge at the insurance  baron’s Hartford headquarters amid an explosive grassroots rally by a  massive, nomadic underclass of formerly middle-class families known as  the Uninsurables.
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Here are the reviews:

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Original idea. Sharp, wryly funny writing. And great satirical  commentary on where we’re headed as a security-mad nation, governed by  corporations and insurance companies.

What aspect needs the most work?

Not much. The pacing is good, the writing is good….All I saw were a few minor editorial imperfections.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I was dubious about this when I started reading, but I really like  it–and I generally don’t like sci-fi or speculative fiction. But this  is really a commentary on our world today, told through the prism of an  imaginary future–one we can only hope never comes to pass. Kind of like Minority Report, only with a twinkle in its eye, and not even remotely  derivative.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Quirky and unusual storyline, with a wide range of characters  that are equally quirky.  For the most part, the story moves along well.

What aspect needs the most work?

I found the portion of the pages dealing with Stan to be  slightly tedious, just not as interesting or well drawn as the others.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I found it both interesting and disturbing.  Unusual to be sure, with the “big brother” aspect being slightly disturbing.  However, it may be  closer to reality than we realize.  I’m interested to see where the  author goes with this.

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