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By Johnson, Kevin, Wade

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Book Id: WPLBN0100303624
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Reproduction Date: 5/27/2021

Title: Faker  
Author: Johnson, Kevin, Wade
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Drama and Literature
Collections: Science Fiction, Authors Community
Publication Date:
Publisher: Self-published
Member Page: Kevin Johnson


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Johnson, K. W. (2021). Faker. Retrieved from

Homeless in a space habitat, in the warren of tunnels dug into an asteroid, is hard enough. What's harder is Gray isn't just homeless, but is a hermaphrodite, shunned or worse by everyone. But in learning to stay alive, Gray learned to read people's body language, to study and remember. Will those skills be enough to make it? Or will Gray have to fake it? A science fiction novel of coming into one's own, of overcoming oppression and exclusion, of using skills and wits for survival and even self-fulfillment.

A novel where the hero begins with nothing: no family, no social acceptance, no money, nothing. Then again, not quite nothing, since Gray has a phenomenal ability to learn, including learning to read people's moods and mindsets. Given that Gray is a hermaphrodite, shunned and excluded, on an asteroid habitat, where there's nowhere to run, herm will need all herm's abilities to survive. But can herm thrive?

Excerpt I: Meanwhile, the predator was stalking me, faking being an ordinary stationer. The corridor stretched gray and rust before and behind me, with occasional hatches and cross-tunnels interrupting. No shop windows here, vacuum-strength glass cost too much. I could count a handful of people walking it aside from me and the faker. A full-time hydroponics gardener in green, a ventilation duct cleaner in brown, a cafe wait-staffer in blue, a nurse in white, and another unemployee in the same nondescript gray as mine. The faker's body language, walk, and the rest, down to the scruffy haircut, were all perfect. His only mistake was the charcoal gray of anonymity. It was the only acceptable disguise; maybe I'd happened on him while he was on his way to where no one knew him and he could change into something else. Meanwhile I acted like I hadn't seen him, hadn't realized he followed, hadn't realized I might be getting victimized shortly. Because there was no innocent reason for following me. The poncho and my hard-won body language covered all the cues giving away my gender, if he was herm-hunting. Glimpses of the gray jumpsuit beneath showed I had nothing worth stealing, including my free-issue phone. What did he want? He didn't stand taller or beefier than anyone else in the corridor. But I had to look up to see the face of everyone else, here and pretty much everywhere. So whatever he wanted, I didn't want to find out. Because I couldn't stop him from getting it. Because I'd never had creds enough to manage a weapon. Between that and my size—and not knowing judo or anything—fighting was out of the question. What do you do if you can't fight? You run, or you hide. Excerpt II: I looked around at the kind of kitchen I hadn't known since I was twelve, all neutral cream with swatches of blue, when a huge man in indigo and black came through doors on the other side of the room, and, working his way past the appliances and the cooks, came to me. He stood as tall as anyone I'd ever seen, and from the way he moved had an awful lot of muscle under even more fat. He moved the way someone does who expects others to get out of the way, and the look on his face was one of tolerant single-mindedness. As he got closer, I saw the lines on his face. With the white of his hair, I realized he had to be old indeed, since people like him could afford anti-aging treatments. He stopped a little too close to me, and stooped to get his face a little closer to mine. "So," he rumbled, "someone watching you?" Here was my chance to volunteer potentially valuable information to a complete stranger, one with enough apparent authority to get me into loads of trouble. "Seems so," I said. "Why would that be?" He could see my social status at a glance, and I'm sure did so. "Always takers," I said. And fakers, I didn't. "True." He eyed me up some more, and said, "You speak well." "I thank you." His eyes got an amused glint. "Show me what you know." I recited from a recent edcast, explaining Coriolis forces and trajectories of thrown objects on spinning stations. I hadn't known bits of ore and such didn't automatically curve when thrown on planets. "Not bad," he said. Excerpt III (lightly edited to remove references that won't make sense out of context): "You can call me Vichy. I know you won't mind my asking," brilliant smile, "but Fixer never brought an apprentice before, especially one as enchanting as you." "Thank you, kind lady," I said with a curtsy, "he's never really let me out before." I looked wide-eyed and said, "He says everyone will try to seduce me away." Good reflexes, quick reactions; she didn't let that throw her, although I was doing my best. She laughed softly and said, "Astute of him." I looked blank, since I was playing someone not astute enough to know what astute meant. She was still holding my arm, tucked against her now, and managed to hold me so our thighs touched, or almost, since she was so much taller her hip was against my waist. She said, "Now, you don't expect me to seduce you away, do you?" "Oh no," I said. Then, "Should I?" As soon as I said it I thought it might not be my best tactic. And maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. As I looked up at her wide-eyed, she bent at the knees to get our eyes at a level, and said from a centimeter away, "Of course not." I widened my eyes further, noting her preference in breath mints. "Oh good," I said. Then Fixer came out, and soon bundled us out. He probably wished it had been faster. We had to wait at the inner airlock door for someone coming in. The inner door opened, and in stepped an astonishing, radiant creature. I controlled my reaction, but her beauty was downright stunning. Fixer said later the timing was unlikely to be coincidence. Glossy skin. Thick cloud of tight curls. Big, dark eyes. Sensuous lips, red with cosmetics. Perfect features, figure, the works. "Hello, Fixer," she said, then turned those eyes on me. "Is this my replacement?" He said gruffly, "No one could replace you, Venus." She continued to look at me, and Fixer introduced me. She said, "Good for you, Pinky. Fixer can definitely fix you up. Look at the position he got me into." She smiled, and glided out of the room…

Table of Contents
Cast of Characters Chapter One: Fader Chapter Two: Forcer Chapter Three: Finder Chapter Four: Favor Chapter Five: Fainter Chapter Six: Fixer Chapter Seven: Failure Chapter Eight: Feuder Chapter Nine: Fighter Chapter Ten: Faster Chapter Eleven: Faller Chapter Twelve: Father Chapter Thirteen: Facer Chapter Fourteen: Farther Afterword About the Author


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