Queen Nothing is a completed, unpublished novel about the vagaries and ravages of intimacy between women. Queen Nothing feels and sounds like a cross between Ghost World and Station Eleven. I am currently seeking representation.
In the Before, Mascha and Sybil are fast-talking, cynical 18 year olds who fall hard and fast into an intimate friendship during their first semester of college. Mascha, a timid, artistic introvert and first generation college student, is impressed by the wealth and knowledge of her classmates but quickly feels out of her milieu. Sibyl, a good Catholic girl looking to shed her childish fascination with theatre and her puppyish high school boyfriend Chance, develops a passion for social justice and an antagonistic flirtation with the sanctimonious Constance, the leader of the school’s chapter of Amnesty International. During an icy Midwestern winter, Sibyl and Mascha’s friendship deepens through a shared language of sarcastic barbs, an attraction to the life of the mind, and a shared interest in getting obliterated and shedding their inhibitions at party after party.
Too intense to be just friends, too unfamiliar with their own sexualities to readily declare their love for one another, the friends persist in their intimacies, and rely on their friendship in the aftermath of Sybil’s sexual assault and the breakup of her high school relationship. A drunken kiss together at a party leaves Mascha and Sybil both confused, though Sybil seems ready to move on and date her friend Constance, while Mascha, spurned, throws herself into increasingly risky sexual encounters with men. Finally, Mascha makes a decision to pursue Constance that forever alters her and Sybil’s friendship.
In the After, several years have passed and a major nationwide chemical weapon attack has just shut down the grid and thrust the girls’ city into chaos. Both Mascha and Sybil are at their jobs, Mascha at a local bakery and Sybil at the public library, when the world ends. Mascha must defend herself from violent looters, and is eventually rescued by her coworker Jamie, with whom she sets off to find someplace safe to wait out the chaos. After an illness that takes her to the brink of death, Sybil makes her way through the ruins of the bloody and battered city, looking for Mascha, who she longs to reconcile with. When Sybil finds her months after the Event has forever altered civilization, Mascha is living in a destitute commune with a mysterious head of house named Grey. Grey seems at first to be a mostly benign leader, but has a mysterious sexual hold over Mascha. As Sybil and Mascha reunite, Mascha must decide if she’ll be able to overcome her self-hatred and natural passivity to protect her and Sybil, or if she’ll relent and let Sybil be subsumed into Grey’s strange world. A story about a world still unmapped: the relationships between women, their intensity, their beauty, their ability to alter the known world, Queen Nothing explores Mascha and Sybil’s fledgling love in the face of insurmountable odds.