I just keep getting great comments on my hook revisions--this has been really wonderful. What I'm starting to realize is this: my old longer hook wasn't ineffective simply because it was longer--it was ineffective because it covered a lot of disparate ideas without really going into depth with any of them. The end result was that you sort of knew what I was talking about, and you probably had a good idea that there was a lot going on in the book, but it just sounded to confusing and muddled to be that enticing.
I think that my new shorter hook is better because it is more focused, and because it does go into slightly more detail with some of the issues. The idea was to be concise, so as not to lose a busy agent's attention and so as not to muddle the core hook itself with a lot of extraneous information. I think the new hook accomplishes that goal.
That said, what I'm hearing from the most recent comments is that I'm still not going into enough depth in the new shorter version. If you look at it one way, that makes sense--to get shorten my hook, I basically just cut out all the peripheral concepts and improved the wording. That was a good first step, but now I need to flush out my hook even more with the details whose lack seems to be frustrating the commenters. Rather than just stating a few unusual things, I need to give or at least hint at the reasons behind things.
Hear that? That was the sound of a light bulb clicking on for me. How to write a hook: "Give semi-detailed info on the single most interesting aspect of your book." Okay, got it. It will take me a while to come up with the next version, since this is a bit of a different approach, but I'll post it as soon as I have something. That might be tonight, or it might be a few days from now (I forgot to check the three-day Muse forecast). At any rate, thanks to everyone has weighed in. All the various ideas and opinions continue to be indispensable.