The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth #ReleaseDay #SciFi #LGBT #Spotlight

 

 

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out:

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

DSP Publications (eBook) | DSP Publications (paperback) | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


Excerpt

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.


Author Bio

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.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

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.

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Chapter One from Space Love, a WIP

*cracks knuckles* *dusts off virtual desk* *looks around* *smiles*

Ok.  Since part of my New Year’s resolution was to actually post excerpts of my works in progress (affectionately called WIP in the writing world)–I have three– and maybe manage to finish one, I have written enough on one to post a couple of chapters or so. 😉  Maybe I’ll turn it into a blog-published story and see about wrapping it into a novel later. *shrug* Might get me to actually finish the darn thing if I post it here.  So, I will present the first Chapter of the novel, Space Love.   This Chapter, and the beginning poem I wrote for it, are also listed on Goodreads, but this is a newer version. The novel was actually started from the beginning and I mostly stuck with that.  I’m thinking of adding a prologue for the love interest of the MC explaining more of the “dreams”.  Let me know what you think and if you think that would be a good idea.  Also let me know if you think you would like to see this as a serial on my blog once a week or so.  This is a science fiction, paranormal, slightly angsty, and becoming more angsty the more times I work on it.  No sex, so safe for kids.  I have not worked on it in several months but will when I get my new iPad.  There are probably grammar errors.  I’m sure I need to rework the dream sequence, and probably misspellings.  It’s not edited so be warned…

 

Space Love

By Eloreen Moon

Chapter 1

2036 June 15, 0300, Julian Calendar

Near –Earth orbit, Space Station Cassiopeia

Ship UTASA Sydney

I snapped awake, panting.  Sweat dripped from my soaked hair and naked body. Shivering, I discovered I was tangled in my sheets and still in early morning.  Well, if I was on the planet anyway.  I slowly drew myself from the clinging sheets as I tried to slow my breathing.   I sat up facing the bathroom.  Looking at it and the slightly open track door with the light I had left on before going sleep, I remembered why I was awakened in the first place.

A Dream.  Really bad dream.  Yeah.  I remembered now.  Sort of.  Maybe.  Kind of.  Crap.  I didn’t want to remember.  I really, really didn’t want to remember.  But the dark night with the soft glow from the bathroom triggered the remembrance and my mind went back in time.  The same dream I’ve had all my life.

I’m running through green fields, so green it almost hurts my eyes.  I’m in tiger form with white and black strips, which is unusual in itself because my tiger sleeps within me. I know I’m dreaming because of this.  I feel the hunters coming.  I can taste their greed.  I can smell the lush field, an almost sweet honeysuckle smell, surrounded by a dense forest in the distance.  I don’t recognize the location, however beautiful it is.  I never have.  The grass feels good on my paws but that is a fleeting thought.  I’m running for my life and I have no idea why.  The fear eats at me.  I must run and continue to run as very bad things will happen should I stop.  I do not know the bad: It’s just a feeling. Horror fills me as I feel something breathing down my neck.  It’s getting closer. Closer. So close, that I feel as if it will consume me.  I must stay free.  I must.  It is an imperative that I am not caught.  I have no idea what will catch me but I cannot be caught, ever.

 

Something’s changed.  This time, it is slightly different.  Emotions are high and I almost feel someone else’s emotions.  I feel myself slip into the meditative state whereas I’m lucid dreaming, trying to control the dream to see something new.  With a slight distance, I feel the emotions and form of someone…different.  Almost, like, they are trying to tell me something.  I stretched for the tantalizing hint of a thread of emotion.  Fear, yes, but not for themselves.  Fear….for me?

As I slowly came to from the remembrance, I realized why I was startled awake.  The dream changed.  I’ve never had that happen before.  I briefly wondered why.  Shrug.  I’ll think about it later.  Right now, now that I’m awake, my bladder was making itself known.  I stood up, and walked to the bathroom.  Taking a deep breath, I walked up and the automatic door slid the rest of the way open at my approach.  I smirked a little as I thought about the hoops I had to go through to get that feature available.  As it slid open, I shakily walked to the toilet to relieve myself, washed my hands, and then threw some water on my face.  I looked up at the mirror.  My eyes were gold.  Not good, not good at all.  Shifting here would be a poor choice.  Not that I have ever shifted before but I knew the signs that my family told me to expect when it was time.  Time that seemed to be an unusually long time in coming.

“Casaen, you look like shit.”  My voice was harsh in the small room.  I hadn’t had much sleep lately.  The dreams were not helping.  Someone was trying to tell me something, I just knew it.  But I didn’t have a clue what was being said.  So much for me being a Dreamwalker.  You would think I would understand this kind of stuff.  But, Noooo.  I’ve been having dreams all my life and sometimes they were direct enough I could interpret.  And, sometimes not.  It was those nots that had me tied up in knots.

Great, I was making puns again.  Even in my own head.  Rolling my eyes, I sighed and looked at myself in the mirror.  The light on my face and hair was not especially harsh.  I never liked those halogen things and so went with anything that did full spectrum sunlight.  I had heard fluorescents were high demand back in the day, but I’ve never seen one.  They were outlawed when I was little in the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century.   I had a good face, I guessed.  My eyes were back to normal now.  They are brown-green eyes with a slight almond shape from some pan-Asian ancestor set in a slightly tanned face.  Wavy hair to just past my shoulders had multi-colored red, gold, brown, and some blond mingled together for a crown that covered my head.  Ok, maybe a lot of blond.  Alright, I’m mostly white blond with the rest accenting since I’m a White Bengal Tiger.  Well, I would be if I ever shifted.  Not that I really paid attention to my hair but people said it was cute.   And, it was probably too long for a guy.  Strong nose, high cheekbones, oval face, and an average forehead went with the rest of my features.  I had a long neck too.  I look almost like a girl.  I guess you would call me a twink in the old fashion vernacular.  Although that term referred to someone younger than I, I guessed as a body type, it would apply.   Five foot seven inches is not tall and with a muscular body that would be called lithe, I wasn’t in too bad of shape.  At least, that is what the ex-boyfriend told me.  At 30 standard years, I was not young by any stretch of the imagination.  Considering I just had a birthday last month, I started feeling my age.

With a wry smile, I looked at my face one more time and left the bathroom to my quarters.  Not much, but it’s my own.  With a brother and 3 sisters, you tend to find space anywhere you can.  Looking around the room, you have your basic gun-metal gray that all starships share.  I’ve not had time to decorate as I’ve only been on here only a few days.  My anti-gravity totes were stacked neatly against the far wall on the other side of the bed and next to the door to the kitchenette.  Wait, they don’t call it that here.  A food replicator?  I’ll have to ask Father.   Not that it wasn’t anything more than a cover over an alcove with a machine to synthesize food and drink.  Luckily, I had the version that would make whatever I needed without the chemical taste.   I waved my hand in front of the door sensor and it slid up into the top.  It never ceases to amaze me these new technologies.  Being someone on the far side of technology, I tend to be fairly grounded considering.

“Water with ice.”  I said to the room.

“Anything else, Mr Hagonsun?”  I startled a bit when the female voice of the Artificial Intelligence aboard the ship spoke.  Sandy, she was called.  She?  I wasn’t sure the protocol for referencing ship AI’s, let alone ships in general.  Heck, the closest I got to technology was my tablet computer and only then because I grew up with technology readily available.  Sure, I read Science Fiction being an avid reader.  You can’t get away from technology, or the reading, when everyone in my family worked there in some form or fashion.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  You know that old adage? Truth is stranger than fiction?  Yeah, that’s the one.  Welcome to my world.

I never could get used to cutting-edge technology. My brain just went to mush when Dad start talking about his work on the creation of them.  Mom is an Astrogator; a space navigator if you will.  Mother and Father, Mom and Dad’s mates, also worked in space and technology.   Mother dealt with Rocketry and propulsion and Father dealt with nutrition and food replication.  Dad’s baby, AIs, were just emerging as viable ship cores when I was in my teens, thanks in a large part to Dad’s research and programming.  That was not too many years after the first learning AI was setup by the University of California named Wilson.  It was a big thing in my parent’s day and happened when I was a baby.  They told me about it when I told them I was leaving Earth for this trip.  Gods, was that a month ago?  Everything has happened so fast.  From the time the United Terra Aeronautics and Space Authority (UTASA) contacted me for this assignment some 3 months ago until now, I had been eating, sleeping, and breathing the training to go into deep space.

I guess I should have known I would end up on an extended mission in space.

“No Sandy.  Just the water.”  I said.  I still feel weird talking out loud to basically nothing and nobody in the room. 

Case, you ok?

I sighed.  I knew Cadmaen would contact me after the dream.  Since all of the Family could talk to each other with our telepathic link, talking was overrated.  I didn’t talk much unless there were humans around.  And with me being a Dreamwalker, I could send and receive emotions too.  I’m pretty sure Cade would wake up regardless considering we are littermates.  I was impressed that I could “hear” him this well though.  Hi bro. Yeah, I’m ok.  I guess.  I sent him my love, a little subdued since it was still “night” on the ship and I hadn’t fully awakened even with the dream and all.

Are you sure? Do you need me there?

NO!  You do NOT need to expend that much energy! I stood there, clutching my hands to fists and my heart thumping a mile a minute at the thought of Cade using his telekinesis ability to come up to the ship, or even the space station the ship was attached to.  That’s all I needed.  Explain a 500-lb white tiger randomly showing up in my room.  The Captain would surely want to know how that happened.  Considering she is human and does not know the extra traits our family has, I wasn’t in a hurry to enlighten her.  Not that humans don’t know, we just didn’t want our family’s heritage to be out there.  We have rather unique abilities that we don’t want to have to explain.  I’m ok, really. I’m getting water from the food replicator-thingy.  Um, what did Father call them again? And, how am I hearing you so well?  The short trips I took before for training gave me the impression that we couldn’t speak mind to mind while in orbit.

Cade snorted humorously. That was what Mom and Mother told you so you wouldn’t tax yourself while in training.  It’s never been tested as I think you are the first of our kind in space for any length of time but we think based on current psionic research that the distance doesn’t matter.  Thank you General Relativity and Albert Einstein. I suddenly had a mental picture of my brother smirking in his oh, so superior way.  Never mind that he was only 5 minutes older than I was and wasn’t superior, at all.

Our older sisters Cassandra, Crystal, and Carrie were from the litter of Mother and Father while Cade and I were the litter of Mom and Dad, officially anyway.  Since they were all mates, it didn’t really matter.  Human marriage laws have come a long way from the time when our parents were having us.  Gay, straight, lesbian, multiple partners: It didn’t matter anymore.  I know that the parental units breathed a lot easier these days as they don’t have to hide that part of their relationship.   Most humans we lived near thought we were incredibly fertile.  That’s true, just not the way they thought.  It’s because we are shifters and have litters make multiple births the norm.  We’ve kept a low profile since we didn’t want any one hunting us because we were different.  Story of our lives.  We are typically bisexual in general but some of us have a preference.  Cade and I are gay.  We just haven’t found our mates yet.  And with me in space, the likelihood of finding mine is slim and none and Slim left the solar system ages ago.  I wasn’t too worried about it since shifters tended to live longer than humans and I was only on this mission for 6 months.  I figured I had time to settle down.  Didn’t mean I wasn’t lonely though.  My last boyfriend was a year ago.

I sighed. Figures they would do that “for my own good.” I’m not 10 you know. I’m sure I wouldn’t have anyway.  Standing in the middle of training staring off to space while I talk to you probably would have been a poor choice.  I’m sorry I woke you though.  Are you ok?  You feel…a little strange…

Cade said quickly: I’m fine, really.

Why don’t I believe you?  I replied, concerned with a slight snort of my own.  He could never lie to me.  Nobody could.  It’s why I was probably here.

Crap, I could never get passed that lie-detector mind of yours. He did a mental shrug and started talking quickly. I have someone with me.  You know. In my bed.  Overnight and all.  Jeez.  Do I really have to spell it out?  My normally stand-up-and-take-charge brother was embarrassed, frustrated, horny, and…oh, damn.  My awakening him had become coitus interruptus.

I flopped on the bed.  Oh man, I’m really, really sorry.  I hadn’t expected the dream I had to change and it startled me badly.  Please apologize to your date…I assume it was a date and not your mate?

He answered: Yeah, it was only a date.  He’s human though so I had to send him off before I contacted you.  It would have been a little bit odd to explain to him that my brother miles over Earth caused me to freeze in the middle of getting off. Now he sounded annoyed.  Oh boy.  I’m going to be groveling for a bit on this one.

I’m really, really sorry? Really? I flashed him a mental smile with my dimple in place.  He always forgives me.  Well, usually forgives me.  This was no exception.

I know.  With a whoosh, I felt him send me his love, exasperation, and concern to me.  Pictured with it was someone identical to me but slightly beefier.  And – tapping his foot.  Typical Cade.  Cade continued, Are you sure you don’t need me up there?

I’m sure.  Go back to sleep Cade, I’ll be fine.  I’ve been up enough that I should be ok to go back to sleep before I start my day. Thank you, bro.  For being there.

Anytime, and I mean that literally. He sent me a wry smile, a little of his amusement seeping through, and a last parting request. Find someone, Case.  You need to get laid before taking off.  Your dreams were better when you are with someone, even when you were with what’s-his-name douche-bag-on-a-stick asshole.  You’ve been alone long enough.  At least find someone for the night.  I doubt you will find your mate in deep space but for one night, I would prefer that you slept without dreaming.

And he was gone.  A sense of a wave good-bye and the link closed.

“Well, that was entertaining.”  I said out loud sarcastically. 

“Sir?” Sandy queried.

“Never mind, I’m just talking to myself.  I do that a lot.”  With a snort, I rolled over and picked up my water, drank it down and left it on my utilitarian bed-side table.  I never did get an answer from Cade what Father called those new-fangled food replicators.  Sigh.  I’m going to have to unpack when I get back up and drifted off to sleep.  Thankfully, a dreamless one.