Book Jacket


rank 4871
word count 67309
date submitted 08.10.2010
date updated 21.01.2011
genres: Literary Fiction
classification: moderate


Hugh McMahon

Jim had no idea what a Digitally Optimised and Modulated Epidermis was or that there was one hanging over his head.


D.O.M.E is a secret project run by The Private Patrol Group. Its aim is to intercept all the information generated in the city. The main character, Jim, works as a night shift dispatch officer for the P.P.G. and is implicated in a plot to sabotage his employers project. To avoid jail, he must find a scientist who has been kidnapped by the saboteurs. It leads him into a world that runs parallel to his cosseted one and forces him to examine what drives him.
On one level it is a straightforward story about transformation but on another it explores the process of writing. The characters he meets are the frameworks of literary influences and the story unveils itself as a chronicle of the creative progression of the writer.

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creative, influences, kidnap, mathematician, plasma, sabotage, time, transformation

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curiousturtle wrote 1174 days ago


I started reading your Opus and thought I would give you my cent and half:

"The characters he meets are the frameworks of literary influences and the story unveils itself as a chronicle of the creative progression of the writer"

So, to use Borges language... this is the story of a story?

Now, to mix sci fy with the self telling story mechanism (i.e..the story that narrates itself as is told)

....that is a very intriguing premise.

Kudos for you for attempting such a trapeze's act.

The literary style is a moment by moment perception, were each moment is a dangling act that promises the next one to have the same intensity as the previous one. That kind of promise is not easy to keep for, every time you sideway into a description or a character's psychological map, you are breaking the promise. And if you don't sideway the reader does not have a mind image - given by description - or a delicately fibrillated map that would make him care about the characters.

Thus the promise....thus the dangling

Some of my favorites:

"In the middle of..."
I like that repetition.
It would be more urgent if:"In the middle of the road, city, night, a bottle..."

"a kinky stride"

"lapped on the shore"

"extended period of cooling"

Some Minor/Minorest/Minormost points:

There is a reason why every sci fy movie spends 30% of their budget on the first 3 minutes of the plot. And that reason is called the landscape shot. That is when you do sci fy you are introducing the reader to a world he/she has never seen before. An alternative universe that creates the kind of suspension of disbelief that makes the reader accept all the extraordinary premises that sci fy makes

Think of 2001. Or Fifth Element. Or AI. Or Star Trek.

You are missing the landscape shot. Without that, it doesn't read like a sci fy narrative, You need a visual post card that says to the reader

"Come...this is the world you about to be enter"

"were being transferred"
instead: "were thrown"
be direct, be on the face of the reader
Because it accelerates the thinking of the eye.
We are creatures of speed reading. We get it, fast.

"The first attempt at a collar grab was foiled
you have here triple telling (first/attempt/foiled)
instead: "the collar grab foiled"

a would also cut a bit on the modifiers:
"creditable patience", "deftly relieving" "full recovery" "surrepstiously lean" "dusty wetsuit"
Because, as Updike says, I writer that knows how to compress should let reader fill in the blanks.

Overall the stylistic point is in the direction of a mean to accelerate the plot.

Let me know if that helps,

Overall this is one of the most ambitious narratives I have read so far here, 6 stars


mikechurch wrote 1224 days ago

Hello Hugh,

You have a nice bouncy writing style. Very rhythmic. I like the way you skimp on commas, semi-colons, etc. in order to keep the narrative flowing. (On the topic of punctuation, there are several missing or misplaced apostrophes; even in your pitch: "employers project".)

I've just read the first chapter for the moment, but would definitely continue reading. As I got towards the end of chapter 1, I was beginning to think that it would be nice to see more dialogue, so I skimmed through later chapters, and was pleased to see that there is more. (But *first* impressions were too much telling and not enough showing - this is an old debate, and so long as you're happy with the final result, that's fine.)

The story itself had (for me) overtones of 1984 - at least from my reading of the first chapter - but with a modern take. I appreciate I need to read further in order to see how your second premise - "the process of writing" - develops alongside the action ("transformation") plot. In any case, this dual premise adds originality - and ambition - to your work, and is certainly a major reason why I would keep reading.

Will come back to this.


Bill Carrigan wrote 1240 days ago

Greetings Hugh,

You may have received a message from me before, thanking you for backing "The Doctor of Summitville," which I deeply appreciate. I read several chapters of "D.O.M.E." and found it very promising, then tried to back it, but a problem with my computer kept me from placing it on my shelf. After i submit this comment, I'll try again to see if recent repairs have been successful. If not, I'll return later to back your novel. Best of luck to you, Bill

Bill Carrigan wrote 1241 days ago

Hello Hugh, Many thanks for calling my attention to "D.O.M.E." and for generously backing "The Doctor of Summitville." I'll try to back your novel, but have been having a problem with my computer, so it may take a while. Comments will follow. --Best of luck, Bill

Charles Thompson wrote 1256 days ago

D.O.M.E. is delightful. Based on the pitch, I expected a serious science fiction novel, but D.O.M.E. is very funny too. The writing is sharp, smart, and sophisticated. Jim is a believable character and you do a good job of making him human so that we readers care for him and laugh with him. I just finished the first chapter and I'm looking forward to reading more.

I caught a few style and grammar issues:

I didn't understand what the "AM" referred to in the first paragraph until I read one of the comments below. Perhaps it will be more user friendly if you punctuate it differently (e.g., 3:00 a.m. egos). Maybe it's a British/American thing though. Shrug.

The phrase "professional level capture of the girls capture" needs an apostrophe in "girl's."

The phrase "but things had changed for him it the last six months" contains a typo.

"four years duty" needs an apostrophe in "year's."

"weekends worth of laundry" needs an apostrophe in "weekend's."

The possessive apostrophe seems to present a recurring problem, though I'll cease pointing out examples.

Aside: There is a reason photos should not be taken at bachelor parties, or other similar events, with the exception of a shot or two at the more decent moments of the weekend, like a nice group dinner on the town, and only then for the sole purpose of proving to the rest of the world that you acted like a decent human being while you were away. Jim learned that lesson the hard way. Alas, the prospect of the friendly laundress was the tuition for such an education.

"Yahweh itself'. should have the period inside the quotation mark.

I don't understand the bit about Jim's lie or the breached trust re: Walif's disappointment about getting spurned by his brother. Maybe I missed something.

You have a tendency to misplace the word "only" in a sentence so that it gives the sentence an unintended meaning (most people do that, so you're in good company there). For example, "It only took a minute" should be "It took only a minute." As a general rule, attempt to place the adverb "only" as close as possible to the noun it modifies.

Regardless, your work is fun, a breeze to read, and truly original. I back this book with enthusiasm.

Kind regards,

(Aralen Dreams)

Angietee wrote 1262 days ago

Hi Hugh,
Thank you so much for taking the time to not only look at my profile, but to back me. Any advice or critique you may have will be well received. : )

As you can tell, I'm a insomniac. LOL

andrew skaife wrote 1276 days ago

You have a talent with words, I'll give you that: three AM egos is clever, very clever.

The repetition of words within sentences is game and runs a close line with poetry over prose but that is no bad thing; it exhibits a distinct style and marks your writing out as very different.


livloo wrote 1282 days ago

I really enjoyed your first chapter, there is a lot of attention to detail and it is very well written. Backed

A Policeman's Lot

Jim Darcy wrote 1282 days ago

With a main charcter called Jim how could I not take a look? Plenty to interest and involve the reader here but you could do with a few more commas to break up some of your longer sentences and demark the separate clauses eg final sentence of chapter 1 At this time of night the city was illuminated to show up very little. He drifted and, as he did so, his mind banged against the force that drew him inexorably to chapter two. Just a thought.

Farrold Saxon wrote 1283 days ago

Original, gritty, action-packed, suspenseful yet humorous with tantalising peeks into the protagonists' motivation, the only problem with this novel is it's not complete.

Keep it coming.

Farrold Saxon.

Walden Carrington wrote 1284 days ago

I enjoyed your narrative style in D.O.M.E. Your descriptions paint such clear images. Backed with pleasure.

yasmin esack wrote 1285 days ago

I found your work immensely charged and appealing. Your theme and plot are vasly creative and imaginative and the writing grasping.

It was a plesasure to read this.

The mind setter

Andrew Burans wrote 1286 days ago

You have written a very interesting and unique storyline, which I do like, and created a most memorable main character in Jim. The dialogue is realistic and well written and the pace of your story flows well. All of this along with your descriptive writing makes your work a pleasure to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Bocri wrote 1286 days ago

D.O.M. E. opens with a parody of a silent movie barroom brawl but on CCTV. The alcohol induced lethargic action and disjointed movement of bodies is exquisitely portrayed. However a Big Brother, Orwell's not ITV's, element is about to become evident and with it comes a darker theme. I particularly like the observation about the propensity of jeans to allow a flesh wound without ripping or tearing of material. There are a couple of omissions, tight white . . .? and the occasional missed possessive apostrophe but this trivia cannot detract from the efficacy of the work. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1286 days ago

Obviously written by a very capable author but I get the impression that 'style' is over-important to you. The reference to 'Stigmata' and bleeding from the knees is inaccurate because the stigmata was to do with the hands, feet and sides of Christ. Just tell the story, it's not fellow writers who buy books, readers buy books.
Patrick Barrett (Cuthbert-how mean is my valley)

fh wrote 1286 days ago

A good idea with the storyline - some slight problems with the style and text? IMHO I think this could do with some more editing especially as you list this as Literary Fiction. With more work this could do well. Parts appear to be a jumbled and out of kelter with other better written pieces. But I have backed this as I think you can improve this a lot. Good luck

celticwriter wrote 1286 days ago

Nice, Hugh. You owned me by your opening. Loving it. You tell a good journey which flows, sentence to sentence. Sound structure. You'll do well. :-)

jack & charmian london

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1286 days ago

I hope you don't mind the following observation: the vintage/retro style and choice of words at the beginning seem to be completely at odds with the storyline, characters and need to remember that the gratification that you experience as a writer needs to be shared by the reader as well. I've tried to work out why you refer to chapter two at the very end of the page...any special reason?

SusieGulick wrote 1286 days ago

Dear Hugh, I love that you left me up in the air with Laura & jim at the end of chapter 3 :) - I guess I could write my own ending in my mind for now :) - scary that password had to be changed & the danger. :) Your pitch prepared me with the setting of your story & I love stories with poice action. :) Tight paragraphs & dialogue are great for a nice quick read. :) I've backed your book :) - could you please take just a moment to back my memoirs book? :) Thanks so very much. :) Love, Susie :)

This is information from authonomy (so beware of any other untrue information you may receive that is spam & not quotes of authonomy):
"When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved"
"Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs."

blueboy wrote 1287 days ago

The overall premise sounds rather interesting, and I thinki would be willing to red something like this if done well.

I found what seems an intuitive problem. A bottle cannot stand “proudly”. A bottle has no consciousness. Your prose is a bit awkward to read. I think you are trying to hard. Just relax and tell your story.

My only other feedback isnon your forms of expression. “Its contents had been put to a use that resulted…” “foiled by the entanglement of feet” and so forth. In the first chapter you have a lot of awkward expressions that make the read more labored than it needs to be. I think if you put your mind to it you can come up with smoother way of relating your story.

All and all an nice bit of writing. Seems structure well so far. I'm out of time onthis computer,(at the library) but will read more and send you my thoughts soon.


SusieGulick wrote 1287 days ago

:) comment to follow - read & commented on 3 hours later :)

Hughie McMahon wrote 1287 days ago

I love the idea of the dual premise. Intriguing storyline and talented writing so far make this easy to back.

The Cheech Room
A Fine Pickle

Thanks very much. Your comment is the first I have had and I am delighted that you've been so positive. I hope you enjoy the chapters to come as much.


eurodan49 wrote 1287 days ago

My time is short so only read your intro and first 2 chapters.
This is something I will enjoyed it…good, strong voice.
The opening narration is good, though a little too much “telling” and not enough showing.
The dialogue in second chapter has a nice flow and sounds real…big plus.
For my money, I think that first chapter is “telling” heavy…maybe you could trim off some of the unnecessary info (or use it later, as needed).
Remember, in today’s overcrowded market, readers/agents/publishers need to be “grabbed” from the first line…if you lose their interest you lost them.
What can I say…good luck with finding a publisher. You’ve got my backing.
PS. Please take a look at mine and give me your comment…backing will be appreciated.

lizjrnm wrote 1287 days ago

I love the idea of the dual premise. Intriguing storyline and talented writing so far make this easy to back.

The Cheech Room
A Fine Pickle