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Children Of The Sex Gates
Sequel To The Original Sex Gates
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-063-7
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 183 Pages
Published: February 2013
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Sequel to The Original Sex Gates by the author of the #1 top selling series, The Sex Gates - 2003 Fictionwise.

Children of the Sex Gates takes place in the universe depicted in my book, The Original Sex Gates, NOT the trilogy written with Jeanine Berry. The Original Sex Gates is how I first wrote the novel and is my preferred version, mainly because all the events are contained in the one novel and also because it has one more major character and the last quarter of the book diverges dramatically from that of the trilogy and has a completely unexpected and much different and more believable ending. You donít necessarily have to read The Original Sex Gates in order to enjoy Children of the Sex Gates, since it is a standalone novel, but you would probably enjoy it a little more after first reading The Original Sex Gates novel.

Reviews and Awards

"...the novel Heinlein should have written after Stranger In A strange land. Simply put, one of the best science fiction offerings to come along in years."

Children Of The Sex Gates (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

The sex gates appeared in their tens of thousands all over the world at once, twenty-foot-high turquoise-colored arches that were solid but faded between the two supports to a bright green opaque mist. A person could pass through one of the gates and come out on the other side as a person of the opposite gender and approximately eighteen years old, regardless of their age upon entering. Because of the invariable change in gender the arches were immediately named "sex gates."

Needless to say, elderly persons and those with afflictions, such as paraplegics or quadriplegics, those who thought they would be happier as the opposite sex, and ones who wanted to be young again even if it did change their sex, began entering the sex gates in hordes. Most made it through, but some didnít. It took a while to sort out, but trends emerged. The older a person, the less chance of a successful passage. The depraved, psychopaths, scam artists, mentally deranged, and those with many other kinds of afflictions lessened the chance of a successful passage. But most did make it, and needless to say, great changes in society, government, culture, and mores began all over the world, causing upheavals that still continue, although itís not nearly as confusing now as what happened the first few years.

The biggest cause of dissent today is the presence of seconders, those very few individuals who for unknown reasons are able to go back through the sex gates a second time without disappearing. Most who tried going through a sex gate more than once simply never came out the other side. No one knows why, although a very smart and close friend of Dad and Mom thought he had it figured out. However, it turned out he hadnít.

Itís not always easy to be the children of famous parents, especially ones who helped change society and technology in so many ways itís hard to even make a list of them all. Jackson Lee Stuart and Rita Stuart, nee Hernandez, were among the first of the seconders, the very small percentage of those who managed a second passage through a sex gate and changed back to their original gender. Dad was known as Li when female and Mom was Res as a male, but they had decided to retain their original gender while my sister Taylora and I were growing up. I had never seen them as the opposite sex other than in holographic recordings.

As seconders, ones who had managed two passages through a sex gate without disappearing, they were now able to go through the gates again and again, changing their sex as often as they desired, returning to an age of about eighteen with each passage and in exquisitely healthy bodies. Healthier than almost anyone who hasnít been through a sex gate, as a matter of fact. It only takes the first passage through to give you that perfect body, one that carries no harmful genes, either dominant or recessive, and has an immune system that resists all diseases. That doesnít keep one from growing old, but a person who has gone through a sex gate can at least look forward to aging with dignity, unlike how it used to be with constant diseases, disabilities, and genetic afflictions making old age a constant pain in the ass, to put it bluntly.

But back to seconders. There werenít many of them, because almost everyone who tried a second passage through a sex gate never emerged from the other side. The chances were roughly several million to one against, and so far no one has figured out which factors in a personís physical and mental makeup go into beating those odds. Mom and Dad survived even greater odds. So far as anyone knows, they are the only two persons on earth who, as lovers, went through a sex gate a second time together and came out the other side together, genders reversed again, of course, and completely young and well, when, before they went through the second time, they had been dying from radiation poisoning.

Their two best friends, Russell Borderlon and Donna Wesley (who had once been Donald Wesley before accidentally going through a sex gate), had been with them and gotten the same dose of radiation during a short nuclear exchange instigated by idiot dictators. Russell and Donna had tried the sex gate as a cure, along with Mom and Dad, but Russell and Donna werenít as lucky. They never emerged from the other side, and at first it was thought they were lost forever. Mom and Dad grieved, naturally, but life went on. My older sister Taylora and I are living testaments to that.

Of course, after that second passage, Mom and Dad became part of the semisecretive seconder organization that fought for freedom of information against an oppressive government, had helped with the scientific advancements that resulted in the faster-than-light, or FTL, space drive, and, most important, actually met the alien entity and its offspring, the immature little bastard that was responsible for the sex gates to begin with.

Mom and Dad were on the spaceship that sought out the alien, along with two other seconder friends, Trevor Andrews and Kellie Shawn. Dad wasnít a scientist but he was, and is, an eclectic reader and thinker, and Mom is much the same. They were on that ship at the urging of Messler Scribner, one of the first seconders in the world and the oldest individual who has ever managed a passage through a sex gate. He was a one-hundred-year-old man and a multibillionaire, and had emerged from the gate as a beautiful young woman who looked and felt about eighteen years old. He, or she, rather, then designated herself as Messilinda and founded an odd religion that got her assassinated. The bullet that should have killed her didnít, because there was a sex gate right behind her. She was knocked through it by the force of the high-powered slug and came out the other side as a young man and a seconder, one of the very first ones.

Messler financed the first FTL spaceships, and on nothing more than intuition thought it would be a good idea for Mom and Dad to go on the ship that headed out to contact the alien entity thought to be responsible for the appearance of the sex gates on earth. Somehow Mom and Dad, along with Trevor and Kellie were able to convince the entity to make its offspring (who was the actual culprit) return all those who had failed to make it through a sex gate on either their first or second attempts-which was very nearly everyone who tried, naturally. Until they were returned, the little bud of the parent entity had kept them in the gates, in a kind of timeless or possibly a quantum existence, for purposes of its own that we probably couldnít understand if it had told us. Or told Dad, who was the only one of the four to actually make contact with the brat.

After most of those missing people were returned to where they made their failed attempts, the entity and its offspring went away (so we thought), leaving the sex gates behind like an abandoned toy. Which is what the gates were, in a way, according to Mom and Dad. They were never able to communicate with the entity in a way that exchanged loads of information, but just getting it to notice their existence was a supreme achievement. At that, it took Mom, Trevor, and Kellie together, channeling their semitelepathy through Dad, to even accomplish contact. They did gather that the younger entity had created the gates as a sort of experiment, an educational tool to further its mental growth, playing with the human race much like a human child might play with an ant farm, and abandoning it as easily as a child might abandon the ants after tiring of them.

Among the returned were Russell and Donna, who was now a seconder-and once more a man. Russell, on his return, was a woman. He-or she, as he was at the time-was so in love with Donna that he opted to try the millions-to-one shot at a second passage-and made it, becoming a seconder, too., as well as once more being a man.

I thought it was extraordinary bravery or a love beyond understanding until I read Dadís book, where he stated that Russell thought he had discovered a mental state that almost anyone who had gone through a sex gate once could achieve and use to go through again, becoming a seconder and returning to their original gender. He was right, insofar as he himself was concerned, in making that second passage and becoming a seconder, but somehow the act of doing it made him forget what that mental state had been. For a while he thought he could bring it back, but no matter how much he tried or how much time he devoted to the project he failed.

So there are still very few seconders in the world. They are secretive and cannot be successfully interrogated, no matter which method is used. Not with drugs, nor torture, nor sensory deprivation, nor any other method. They simply go into a trance after a certain point. After a while the authorities like the National Security Agency (the NSA) gave up trying. Seconders are also semitelepathic. They can sense emotions and strong surface thoughts, although the talent varies. Some are better at it than others.

Seconders are rare, but children born from two seconders, as Taylora and I have been, are even rarer. No one knows yet how weíll turn out because the very few of us in the world are still almost all teenagers. I think Iím one of the oldest and Iím barely eighteen. Not quite, though, because my sister is twenty.

If all this sounds confusing, then it probably is, but Iím not as good a writer as Dad.

Let me put it this way: Dad and Mom and "Uncle" Russell and "Aunt" Donna and Seyla, Russellís first wife (Seyla had been Sam Wickerson before a trip through a sex gate), were now all seconders. Most governments and individuals think seconders have all kinds of extraordinary powers and are the true rulers of the world. Thatís nonsense. They do have secrets they never talk about, though, and they canít be questioned under drugs or torture to reveal them. I will say that most everyone thinks they are mind readers, and theyíve even hinted that itís true, but only among themselves (I overheard Dad and Donna talking late one night when I couldnít sleep). There arenít that many of them, anyway, because the chances of anyone making a second successful passage through a sex gate (and thus going back to their original gender) are millions to one. The odds that Mom and Dad, lovers for several years, would both become seconders at the same time are well-nigh incalculable.

I can read about what the earth was like before the sex gates appeared, or watch some of the recordings from that era, and itís like seeing scenes from an alien world. Thatís how much things have changed in thirty years. You rarely see any elderly people or anyone with serious disabilities these days, because most people would rather change their sex and be young again than die or go through life paralyzed from an accident or with other types of disabilities or terminal illnesses. There actually are people like that, though. Some religions still preach that any truck with the sex gates is akin to dealing with the devil and anyone who dares change their sex and live another full life after growing old will go straight to hell. Amazing, huh? And pretty stupid, I think, but I guess itís still a free country. If they want to live only one life or, worse, only one life while handicapped, I guess thatís their business. There are getting to be fewer and fewer of that type, though. Kids donít necessarily believe like their parents want them to, especially when it makes them different from their peers. One of the biggest changes in all societies on Earth was in the way women were regarded. Once old men, the real arbiters of society, had to either become young women or die, they got the message pretty damn quick that the sexes should be regarded equally.

"Some deep thoughts there, Jack?"

Dadís voice came to me through my musing. He calls me Jack, while Mom usually calls me Jackson. I donít know why they named me Stonewall when they never used my first name-not that I wanted them to, you understand. I was used to being called Jack, since it had been that way since I learned to talk or since I could remember, which was almost back to the time I was born.

My full name is Stonewall Jackson Stuart. My dad is a Civil War buff. He can quote passages from books about that ancient conflict from either point of view. One night when they were entertaining, I heard a woman ask Dad if he was a racist, and Mom jumped all over her before he had a chance to answer. I knew he was the furthest thing from that sort of person. He and Mom both despised that kind of attitude.

But back to being the child of a seconder.