Some stories are epic.
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.
From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.
Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.
Book One of Liminal Sky
This was such a wonderful story. I loved how each of the three sections of the story focus on a different part of the timeline of the seed-world-mind and showed the growth of Ariadne and Lex over the span of thirty years. That coupled with getting to see how the cast of characters changes and grows over that same thirty years makes for an amazing story. The timeline of events in the whole story was developed so well. You can tell serious thought was put into how all of the events interconnected and were related to each other. The overall superb storytelling brings me back to stories by Mr. Coatsworth every time.
I truly enjoyed the way he set up his world and how things looked in Earth’s future. It was idyllic or the most horrid look at the future we could get. It was balanced, thoughtful, and plausible to the extent any science fiction dealing with the future can be. You could see how Earth and humans go to the point they did in this story, even if it was on the extreme end of things. I enjoyed seeing how world politics, the environment and the overall will for humans to thrive played into the story.
The cast of characters came alive in the story. They each had a backstory with quirks and identities unique to each of them. They were robust and rich but it was done in a way that wasn’t cumbersome or leaving you feeling you’ve read a character study monologue. You’re able to connect with each of them quickly and it goes deeper the longer you read. Especially the central characters of Colin McAvery, Anastasia Anatov, and Lex. By the end of the story you truly feel like you know them. I loved how there was a wide range of representation in the story. Mr. Coatsworth brings characters of different backgrounds, ethnicities, gender expressions, and sexualities together in a way I wish worked in the real world. They fit together and the problems people have aren’t based on bigotry or bias. I alway love seeing books that prove you can have representation be authentic.
I absolutely adored the premise of the world seed, the world mind and how Ariadne and the other seed worlds came about. The science behind the fiction is so wonderful. I’m truly hoping there’s more stories in this series because I want to see more of Lex, Ariadne, and Forever. The detail in the scenes inside the ship mind and the ones when the Hammonds connect was amazing. I loved feeling like I was there and how it was explained. I found the explanation of how the world was created fascinating. The genetics and the aeronautical aspects were all in that happy spot between too much science and dumbed down; otherwise known as “just right”. You could get a real sense of how things worked and a picture in your mind of what everything looked like.
The ending for this story is a solid happy for now for the world as a whole and the characters individually. There’s so much hope for the future and everyone that is important is where they’re supposed to be. Along with some individuals that make cause problems in the future. You get an amazing story but you definitely want more from this world. I’m super hoping not only is there a sequel but that it comes out quickly. I want to lose myself in the world more and see how all of the characters handle the current challenges they face and the new ones that are about to arise from the events towards the end of the book.
Four and a half
“DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.
A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.
Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.
“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.
“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.
He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.
All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.
At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.
The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.
“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.
The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.
“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”
The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.
Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”
A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.
“Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.
Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.
He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.
All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.
We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.
About J. Scott:
Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.
He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.
Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/