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ANNOUNCEMENT: Heathens, by Jonah Bergan


QSFer Jonah Bergan has a new gay YA sci fi book out:

Can one very angry boy save the world?

I mean sure, maybe he could if he had super powers, but he doesn’t. He only has a little talent. He can push things with his mind. That’s something, but it’s not enough. He can fight. That’s something too, but that’s not enough either. Since the world ended that’s pretty much all he’s done anyway-fight. It hasn’t changed anything—not for the better anyhow.

No, he needs something else. He needs some kind of real power. He needs the one thing that can save the world, and the one thing that has saved the world in the past. He needs 4140.

What is it? What is 4140? He’ll have to figure it out. He can save the world if he figures it out, and so can you. Heathens is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel available for Kindle at Amazon.



The bell above the door sounded. It went “ching-a-ling.” It sounded like Christmas. It sounded like reindeer bells. Right away some of the people sitting in the folding chairs turned to look at me. They turned away just as fast. I guess they were just looking to see if I was someone they knew. Maybe they were looking for someone the same way I was looking for James or Top-hat? Who knows?

I looked back outside and saw the guy in the suit walking off. I was kind of relieved. Not a lot. Just kind of. I needed a minute. I needed some time. I needed to think about something else.

Everyone had turned back to look at the person speaking. He was a black guy—kind of old. He had big crazy gray hair. He parted it in the middle. He had big glasses. No matter where he looked the lenses seemed to be glazed over by the overhead lights. He was wearing a ratty looking sports coat, and brown slacks and a black turtleneck. He was really agitated. He talked like a preacher or something.

“…embrace our own culture and heritage!” he said. “In the most ancient of times, we were the shamans, the spiritual leaders of our tribes. Some called us twin-souls! They conceived of us as a more perfect balance of both masculine and feminine—the most elemental aspect of nature! Later, in cities, we were the priests and priestesses in the magnificent temples they built. They called us the Sons of Hermes! The Daughters of Aphrodite! The singular difference of our being was elevated in those societies, and a family lucky enough to birth one of us was considered blessed!

He tensed up his shoulders and shook both his fists in front of himself.

This is what they’ve stolen from us! They buried our truth, hid from us our culture, and condemned us for everything that makes us wonderful in the eyes of whatever gods and goddesses may look down upon this poor earth!”

I turned away and started looking around at some of the books. I wasn’t really looking. I was just pretending to look. I picked up a book at random. I didn’t even look at the cover. I flipped through a few pages without really reading or anything.

Clarissa was there. I didn’t know that until she tapped me on the shoulder. She was wearing a red felt dress with a wide black belt. The buckle looked like two opposing crescent moons. She wore black boots that rose to mid-calf. Her makeup was simple, elegant—blue eye shadow and a careful line of red lipstick. She smiled.

“I didn’t get a chance to ask,” she said. She was speaking softly. “Did you enjoy the show?”

I nodded. “You were really good,” I said.

She smiled again. “Thank you.” She kind of half-bowed her head. Then she looked back up at me all kind of cheery. “What brings you here?”

“I was supposed to meet someone,” I said. “A guy I know.”

“Aww,” she said, kind of smiling a little and kind of sounding like she was talking to a puppy or something. “Did the mean wittle boy stand you up?”

That kind of pissed me off a little.

“I think he’s dead,” I said. “He lived at the Center.”

She sobered up. “I’m sorry,” she said. She looked at me, like she was looking for damage in my eyes or something. “I’m sorry that happened,” she said. “I’m so sorry.” She put her hand on my arm.

I shrugged.

“Maybe there’s a good reason for you to be here,” she said. “Maybe some of this will help you. Do you believe in fate?” She glanced at the book in my hand. She took my arm in hers and patted it.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I should go.”

She glanced back over at her shoulder at the speaker. He was finishing up. There was a smattering of polite applause. She looked back at me.

“Not all the speakers as quite as… extreme as the Professor,” she said. “Maybe one of the other speakers will say something to help give you some perspective. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you’re here.”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“There are no accidents,” she said. “Come, sit with me. What could it hurt? It certainly wouldn’t hurt my reputation to have a handsome young man on my arm.” She kind of leaned in and gave me a wide tight-lipped smile. It was kind of a false smile, but what could I say?

“Okay, for a few minutes,” I said.

There were two groupings of chairs, one in front of the podium, and the other alongside it. Clarissa led me to the one on the side. There were fewer people sitting there. The Professor had just stepped away from the podium. He came toward us. Clarissa stopped him before he could sit.

“A very nice presentation, Professor,” she said. “You’ve given us a lot to think about.”

“Thank you young lady,” he said. “But it is no longer enough to think! We must act! We must reclaim our heritage!” He looked from her, to me, and then back again. I kind of gave him a half-smile. I wanted to be polite and everything, but he kind of smelled bad—kind of stale, you know?

“Young people today,” he said. “These talents they possess. Perhaps, on our behalf, they may turn back the tide of the hateful and the untruthful.”

“I agree,” she said.

The Professor looked at me. For a real long minute he looked.

“Rise up, young man!” he shouted. It kind of startled me. He pointed his finger into the air. “Claim your right to live. Demand your right, not to be what you want, but to be who you are!”

Author Bio

Jonah Bergan is a freelance writer living in New England. His publishing credits include “Heathens,” a post-apocalyptic young adult novel, “Off World,” a Gay Scifi novel, “Letters From Home,” a ten part serial, as well as multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. Jonah is also host to the Sci-Fi Sunday feature which he operates from his blog.


Heathens Blog Page:


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2 thoughts on “ANNOUNCEMENT: Heathens, by Jonah Bergan”

    • Hi Blaine,
      Thanks. This first week has been astounding! So many cool people welcoming me back to the land of the living – truly heartwarming! I was just chatting with Wendy, the author of “The Android and the Thief” over on the QSF facebook page. I was telling her how Heathens represents a real departure for me style-wise. Use the “look inside” feature over at Amazon, get a feel for the story. See what you think.


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