Doctor Avant: Table of Contents
Cheri Avant is a genetically engineered life form, a six-foot, six-inch tall female rat-human hybrid. Her basic DNA structure is that of the lab rat, Rattus norvegicus, but with plenty of human genes spliced in. Her creators were grad students working in a university lab and one of their goals was heightened intelligence. They succeeded.
Doctor Avant is a lab rat, but the kind that wears a white coat. She works for the NIH where she's a research scientist. She earned her PhD in Ecotoxicology a week before her 20th birthday and her favorite subjects are food additives and food contamination. She is a major geek and in her mid-twenties.
These stories are speculative fiction, set on the East Coast of the United States and centered on the Washington D.C. area. The time frame is the near future.
My desire to attempt to write a high-conflict story inspired Melpomene's Daughter. This story contains: vandalism, arson, kidnapping, captivity, forced nudity, degradation, intimidation, beating, rape, gunplay, blood, and killing, all against a backdrop of domestic terrorism. On the positive side, it's about the kind of courage that would lead someone to strip themselves naked, literally as well as figuratively, and knowing full well the possible consequences, descend into the madness of the terrorists' world. Melpomene's Daughter is also about idealism taken too far. Both heroine and villain have positive ideals—the difference is that one believes that the ends always justify the means, and shows no restraint in achieving those ends. Ironically, both heroine and villain are fighting for the good of other's species.
My goal in writing Melpomene's Daughter is to sell it in the professional market for short stories. This means a science fiction magazine or anthology. I had planned on a nice 5,000 to 6,000-word story. I'm not quite done with the first draft, but at this point it looks like the story will be around 14,000 words—a bit long. As a story for sale, I can't publish Melpomene's Daughter to my web site until after it's sold, when after, will depend on the contract with the publisher. This will be the first story I attempt to sell.
Here's a bit about the status of Melpomene's Daughter, where I'm at in the process of writing and getting it sold.
It's mid June of 2031, 11½ months after Doctor Avant's ordeal with the terrorists ended. She had made good on her promise to herself to stop hiding and get a life; a promise that included finding a boyfriend. Unfortunately, after she broke up with FBI agent Jimenez, finding a man who was both decent and not intimidated by her species, was proving to be difficult. Her latest boyfriend was a stockbroker: intelligent, well educated, and witty, but when it came time to move past the small talk and actually kiss her, he couldn't do it. That date ended rather awkwardly, but he did want to see her again. She knew an intimate relationship with him was doomed, so when she showed up at his place in Philadelphia on Saturday morning, instead of going out she broke up with him. She spent the rest of the day shopping and later she decided to stop by the hotel where she'd attended the Nation's Health convention in May. The staff there knew her and had been friendly. Her plan was to get drunk in the hotel's bar, get a room, and worry about tomorrow when tomorrow came. What she hadn't counted on was that Anthrocon '31 was taking place in the same hotel that weekend.
This story is rated PG-13, for the adult situations.
Here's a little about the writing of Beach Tour and the writing contest that inspired it.
Behind every story is another story.
This answers many of those questions that popped into my head after studying Doug Winger's drawing, Zort. Also, what happened to motivate Doctor Avant for her mission in Melpomene's Daughter?
Her time with the FLA terrorists was a life-changing event. Find out what happened to Cheri between Melpomene's Daughter and Beach Tour.
Doctor Avant's Sex Life
This is about biology, not relationships. Since she's not fully a rat, nor is she fully human, Doctor Avant has a kind of hybrid physiology.
Future Stories About Doctor Avant
Other stories are possible. Find out where I might take our good doctor next.
I'm an engineer; I know nothing is ever perfect and I reserve the right change these stories as necessary. However, you deserve to know if any of my changes are substantial enough to warrant a reread. You can find out here.
Note, only changes to the contents of the web pages in this section are cataloged.
Access to the private pages for stories about Doctor Avant. For dialog consultants and beta readers only. Interested? Contact me.