Halfskin

Halfskin

Book 1
DeadPixel Publications
26

For fans of Bladerunner and Brave New World comes a new twist…

Perfection has arrived.

Synthetic stem cells mean no more organ failure, no more pharmaceuticals. No cancer. The human race is stronger, smarter and prettier. Is it better?

Cali Richards is a nanobiometric engineer who has been her younger brother’s guardian since their parents died. She’s lost too many people in her life to lose another. When the government declares the Halfskin Laws will shut down anyone with too many synthetics, she decides to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And synthetics can’t cure insanity.

Follow their twisting, slippery grip on reality as they strive to find happiness in a world that has everything it could possibly want.


REVIEWS FOR HALFSKIN

“This, quite frankly, is one of the best books I’ve read.” –John Gregory Hancock,  Reviewer
“WOW.” –Amanda Taylor,  Reviewer
“I was not expecting the twists…” – Reviewer
“Hated finishing this book… many hours of enjoyment.” –Eleanor Wendlberger,  Reviewer
“Halfskin is one of the best science fiction stories I’ve read this year.” –ACFlory,  Reviewer
“Twisty turny, unexpectedness!!!!!! LOVED THE BOOK!” –Aisha-Kimberly Hashmi,  Reviewer
“One of the best stories i[sic] have read in a long time!” Brian,  Reviewer
“I was absolutely hooked from page 1!” – Reviewer


AWARDS

Underground Reviews 2015 Top Pick Award

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More by Tony Bertauski

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A synthetic stem cell called a biomite can replace any cell in your body. They are infallible. As our percentages of biomites rise, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier. We become better.


Can we resist the temptation of perfection? Are we still human when our bodies are replaced by synthetic replications?


If biomites exist, laws will be imposed to prevent excess and abuse. Those with 50% biomites will no longer be considered human. 


They will be halfskin.


Halfksin: The Vignettes is a compendium of short stories found throughout the Halfskin trilogy, a harbinger of what humanity’s pursuit of perfection may look like.

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


Drayton once believed he was a vampire. He doesn’t know what he is. Or why he has lived for thousands of years. He takes not his victim’s blood but the silky essence of their soul during their last breath. Often mistaken for the Angel of Death, his victims sometimes ask for forgiveness. Sometimes he delivers. After all, he is not without sin. 


Blake Barnes commits suicide by freezing on Mt. Hood. As his life fades, he assumes Death has come to him in the form of a young man. In his last moments, he asks Death to find his family, to tell them he's sorry. Drayton honors this last request as he absorbs Blake Barnes' waning essence. He travels to the Lowcountry of South Carolina to find his family. But saying sorry is not always as easy as the words imply. Drayton seeks to unravel the mess Blake Barnes has left behind and the predator he's unleashed on his family.


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


Did you ever think you’d write about vampires?

Nope. Drayton came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. Twilight put a different spin on the vampire genre, much different than Nosferatu. Drayton’s nothing like Twilight. Or Nosferatu.


What's a downside to writing a character similar that's similar to you? 

Predictable. Boring. If every book I write is similar, it ceases to surprise the reader. That’s what I loved about Drayton, he was just the opposite of me. This paranormal being was fearless not out of bravado but the wisdom brought about by countless years of immortality. I called him a vampire because it was the word that fit him the best in his early years, but he became something much for that. Whatever a vampire becomes after the gore and bloodsucking, sort of like the caterpillar and butterfly. 


Do your characters ever resemble you in your beliefs?

Some do. But there are others that are just fun to go the other way, especially antagonists. I do find it interesting, even courageous, when authors can write very demented, sick and twisted antagonists. It’s very revealing to show the world what’s bouncing around in your head.


What do you think is the most important aspect of writing a character?

Letting him or her grow in my head. It’s when I’m driving to work, taking a shower, or lying in bed that they come to life. It’s also one of the most gratifying elements of writing. I’ve enjoyed letting this vampire walk through my mind, leaving his short stories behind.


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Additional Information

Publisher
DeadPixel Publications
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Published on
Dec 9, 2012
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Pages
270
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ISBN
9781481196598
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Romance / Science Fiction
Fiction / Science Fiction / Cyberpunk
Fiction / Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering
Fiction / Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction
Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
Fiction / Thrillers / Technological
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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We map the universe with five senses 
Interpret reality with our mind 
We rely on this body 
What a poor vessel it is 

Jamie wants to be a halfskin. 

Her life has become dull and pointless. If she had more biomites—synthetic stem cells that promise hope—she could take control of her life. But Jamie’s body is already 49.9% biomites. The rest is clay—her God-given organic cells. Any more biomites and she becomes a halfskin. And halfskins are shutdown. 

But there is a way. 

Black market biomites, called nixes, can’t be detected by the government’s halfskin hunter, M0ther. Jamie would have to sacrifice her clay to get the nixes, but they would make her halfskin without anyone knowing. Including M0ther. But first she has to find them. 

Nix Richards can help. He’s the first halfskin to escape M0ther and Jamie has something he wants. He’ll need her to help him find a fabricator. He’ll betray anyone to get it, even those closest to him. 

This psychological thriller will keep Nix and Jamie second-guessing every move while they elude M0ther and Marcus Anderson, the man that wants to rid the world of biomites. But in the end, they’ll all discover just how deep the betrayal goes. 


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


Fabbers, slabbers and fakies were dehumanizing slurs for fabricated humans. Bricks, however, was the People’s favorite. 

The Sentience Laws were created to protect the rights of Bricks, but the laws didn’t last long. Banished to the remote isolation of the Settlement, Paul and Raine are sentenced to live the rest of their lives in the wilderness. 

Escape and freedom will depend on Marcus Anderson, the man responsible for all the suffering that’s been endured since the invention of biomites—the synthetic stem cells used to fabricate halfskins and Bricks. Marcus needs them in order to find the “powers-that-be,” the man he believes is truly responsible for the world’s suffering. Their journey will take them to a tiny island in the South Atlantic, where the truth is much closer than they realize. That’s where they will discover the “powers-that-be”. 

And so much more.  


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


A synthetic stem cell called a biomite can replace any cell in your body. They are infallible. As our percentages of biomites rise, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier. We become better.


Can we resist the temptation of perfection? Are we still human when our bodies are replaced by synthetic replications?


If biomites exist, laws will be imposed to prevent excess and abuse. Those with 50% biomites will no longer be considered human. 


They will be halfskin.


Halfksin: The Vignettes is a compendium of short stories found throughout the Halfskin trilogy, a harbinger of what humanity’s pursuit of perfection may look like.

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


We map the universe with five senses 
Interpret reality with our mind 
We rely on this body 
What a poor vessel it is 

Jamie wants to be a halfskin. 

Her life has become dull and pointless. If she had more biomites—synthetic stem cells that promise hope—she could take control of her life. But Jamie’s body is already 49.9% biomites. The rest is clay—her God-given organic cells. Any more biomites and she becomes a halfskin. And halfskins are shutdown. 

But there is a way. 

Black market biomites, called nixes, can’t be detected by the government’s halfskin hunter, M0ther. Jamie would have to sacrifice her clay to get the nixes, but they would make her halfskin without anyone knowing. Including M0ther. But first she has to find them. 

Nix Richards can help. He’s the first halfskin to escape M0ther and Jamie has something he wants. He’ll need her to help him find a fabricator. He’ll betray anyone to get it, even those closest to him. 

This psychological thriller will keep Nix and Jamie second-guessing every move while they elude M0ther and Marcus Anderson, the man that wants to rid the world of biomites. But in the end, they’ll all discover just how deep the betrayal goes. 


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


Fabbers, slabbers and fakies were dehumanizing slurs for fabricated humans. Bricks, however, was the People’s favorite. 

The Sentience Laws were created to protect the rights of Bricks, but the laws didn’t last long. Banished to the remote isolation of the Settlement, Paul and Raine are sentenced to live the rest of their lives in the wilderness. 

Escape and freedom will depend on Marcus Anderson, the man responsible for all the suffering that’s been endured since the invention of biomites—the synthetic stem cells used to fabricate halfskins and Bricks. Marcus needs them in order to find the “powers-that-be,” the man he believes is truly responsible for the world’s suffering. Their journey will take them to a tiny island in the South Atlantic, where the truth is much closer than they realize. That’s where they will discover the “powers-that-be”. 

And so much more.  


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


A synthetic stem cell called a biomite can replace any cell in your body. They are infallible. As our percentages of biomites rise, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier. We become better.


Can we resist the temptation of perfection? Are we still human when our bodies are replaced by synthetic replications?


If biomites exist, laws will be imposed to prevent excess and abuse. Those with 50% biomites will no longer be considered human. 


They will be halfskin.


Halfksin: The Vignettes is a compendium of short stories found throughout the Halfskin trilogy, a harbinger of what humanity’s pursuit of perfection may look like.

 

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR


WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?

Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?


WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?

Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.


DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it. 


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Breathe.


WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.


IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?

Ketchup, the miracle condiment.


ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE 

OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?

I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle. 


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