Mermaids do not exist.
[Whoa, right off the bat you made my eyes roll. If you are trying to start with a shocking statement, this didn't do it. Because, of course they don't exist. We all know that. So, the next split second thought is that you'll have mermaids in this story, which you do. Not very original nor attention grabbing. If I were an agent, I'd stop reading. Sorry. I would suggest: Gene knew mermaids didn't exist - until he fell in love with one. That's kind of cliche, I know, but I'm trying to bring it back to your character.]
No one knows that better than Gene, who's hustling out a living on the flooded Earth with salvage and courier jobs.
[That sentence seems a bit clunky for some reason. Maybe: Gene's salvage jobs has him hustling a living on flooded earth. Or something like that.]
He's traveled everywhere with his AI companion, Stitch, and never seen anything more majestic than a barnacle-covered whale. Until an honest-to-god mermaid gets stuck in his ship's exhaust port.
She can't speak, so Gene smuggles her to Carl Rance, a scientist friend on one of the floating sea stations. He starts finding clues in her biology, but becomes obsessed with her beauty and mystery. Gene, too, must control his growing affection, which conflicts with his unfettered lifestyle.
Before anyone solves her mystery, the station is attacked and destroyed. Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, but has to abandon the wrathful Rance, who accuses Gene of stealing.
While crashed on a desert island, he and Stitch decipher her origin by teaching her to speak. But the return home involves diving into a world of more than just mermaids. And a secret that, in the wrong hands, could destroy the remainder of mankind.
MERM-8 is an 86,000 word science-fiction novel set in the far future. I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, and The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.
Thank you for your consideration.