Hiding in plain sight.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

If your character wanted to wear a disguise, how would they dress?

That’s a tricky question, maybe one not suited to the world of Sci-fi (which spacesuit shall I wear today? I want to look inconspicuous/like I’m someone else). Especially in a small, closed community like on a spaceship or on some new planet. Everyone knows everyone in many of my stories, dressing up and trying to be someone else when there haven’t been any new arrivals on your particular planet just wouldn’t work.

Having said that, you could argue that it’s not always necessary to dress differently to disguise yourself, or your intentions. There are a couple of my characters who live their whole lives in disguise. They’ve been there since the start, pretending to be someone that they’re not.

Andorra Pett, for example, hides behind the image of a slightly scatty airhead, when in reality she knows exactly what’s going on (à la Miss Marple). Initially a defence mechanism, her bemused persona disguise now comes in very handy for solving all of the crimes that somehow come her way. The way that people constantly underestimate her is a nod to Detective Columbo (as portrayed by the late, great, Peter Falk).

Then there’s Dave Travise, Star of Myra, Freefall and Promise Me. Since his unfortunate and unplanned desertion from the Federation Navy, he’s been hiding in a dead man’s shoes, with a new identity. It’s complicated. Circumstances have forced him into this disguise, he has to keep his head down and hope that he can get away with being someone else. In theory, this identity change should be enough to keep him safe. However, he finds that all he has done is exchange one set of problems for another.  

There are others scattered through my work, after all a great twist in any story is the sudden shock of finding that someone is not who you expected.

I’m not telling you anything about them, it would spoil the fun if you ever got around to reading the books (subtle hint).

Dressing up and taking a part is a bit like writing. I live the adventures of my characters in my head. If you saw me in the street, you’d probably never guess that I was Richard Dee, and in my mind, at that precise moment, I might be half a Galaxy away.

Then again, if you had met me at one of the Steampunk functions I used to attend, you’d have seen my alter ego. That’s not me either.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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7 Responses

  1. Steven

    I think you are spot on. A disguise is not necessarily what you wear or how you look, but how you portray yourself. In the same way as Andi plays the scatterbrained airhead, while being the Miss Marple, Crow is outwardly suave and confident, but internally riddled with concern and doubt.

    Sometimes the best disguises are the ones we cannot see.

    • Richard Dee

      Just when you think you know who you are, another layer is revealed.

  2. Amy Miller

    I enjoyed how you talked about the disguise of actions. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s true. Also, nice touch with the personal bit, and cool pic.

    • Richard Dee

      I really miss live events, talking to affecianados of the genre.

  3. Roberta Eaton Cheadle

    I liked your approach, Richard. It is true that some people spend their whole life hiding behind a mask or in disguise.

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