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Excerpt from “The Stark Divide” by J. Scott Coatsworth

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

Excerpt:

Colin sat on an outcropping of rock with absolutely nothing to do. It was a strange feeling, after the hectic pace of events these last twenty-four hours. The enormity of what had happened rushed in on him and threatened to crush him. He turned off his comm link, wrapped his arms around his chest, and wept unabashedly. For Hammond, for the Dressler, for his own endangered life.

The suit’s recycling systems dutifully removed the water his tears deposited within the helmet, the soft whir of the suit motor the only external sound.

After a while, he began to calm down, taking a few deep, ragged breaths. The worst was over. Jackson was in no pain, and they had escaped the wreckage of the Dressler.

Now he would witness the birth of a new world, something good come out of this otherwise unmitigated disaster. I can do this.

He turned the comm link back on.

The doc’s voice was in his ear. “—can’t seem to reach you. Are you okay? I’m coming back as quickly as I can—”

“I’m here, Doc.” Colin kept his voice steady. “Just a glitch on the comm. Don’t rush back. Just take it slow and steady.”

“Oh God, it’s so good to hear your voice, Colin.” She sounded close to losing it. “I don’t know what I would do all alone.”

“I’m okay. Just get back here so we can get this done.” He stood and stretched.

“Affirmative.” She was all business once again. “Give me about ten minutes.”

He put his hands on the seed, trying to feel the life within, wondering what it would lead to. The thing he held between his hands was destined to become a world all its own, mankind’s first interstellar ship.

What would its occupants think of the world around them? Would its strange interior be as natural to them as the Earth was to him?

He looked up at the stars as the spin of the asteroid pulled them away from the sun’s glow once again.

Where would it go, and how long would it take to get there?

It was a liminal moment in the history of mankind, the threshold of a new era, and he was here to see it.

For a moment, he forgot all about Jackson Hammond and the Dressler. He was filled with an intense longing to go along with these future star travelers, to see what was out there. It was what had fueled his passion to become a pilot, to come out here into the vast unknown. Though ultimately he’d become nothing more than a highly paid delivery boy.

There was so much more beyond where they were allowed to go.

We have such short lives in the grand scheme of things. He’d be unlikely to live long enough to see her launched into the void, let alone to see where she went and what she found there.

“I’m almost there, Captain,” Anatov called.

He acknowledged her tersely, turning back to look at Jackson’s corpse lying there in the starlight.

He just wanted to get this over with and get back to the safety and comfortable confinement of the lifeboat.

It was too big out here for one man, no matter his grand ambitions.

Buy Links:

DSP Publications (paperback): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-416-b

DSP Publications (eBook): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Stark-Divide-Liminal-Sky-Book-ebook/dp/B074G2NJP6/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stark-divide-j-scott-coatsworth/1126901106?ean=9781635338324

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-stark-divide

iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-stark-divide/id1266474103?mt=11&at=1l3vtqV

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35834187-the-stark-divide

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/the-stark-divide/

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.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

 

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“Abducted” (from Gothika #5: Contact) is now available for pre-order!

gothika-contactThe newest Gothika anthology, subtitled Contact, features four stories of alien encounters by me (Jamie Fessenden), Kim Fielding, B.G. Thomas, and a new addition to the list of Gothika authors, F.E. Feeley, Jr.

It’s available for pre-order now at Dreamspinner Press and will be released on October 24th, just in time for Halloween!

My story is called Abducted, and it’s about a man who initially doesn’t believe that his old college roommate is being abducted by aliens… until he is abducted himself!

Abducted – Blurb

One night, Marc receives a frantic call from his friend, Cody. When he arrives at Cody’s isolated farmhouse, Cody is filthy, half-starved, and under the paranoid delusion that aliens are abducting him and implanting things in his body.

Marc agrees to stay one night, as long as his friend will go to the hospital in the morning. But Cody isn’t mentally ill. Aliens have been abducting him, and in the process of trying to stop it from happening again, Marc is abducted himself. But that’s just the beginning of his nightmare.

Marc learns of two alien races at war. To make matters worse, the Alzhen have Marc and the evil Karazhen have Cody. Marc’s only ally is Dalsing, the Alzhen security chief he feels an unexpected attraction to. They’ll have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to rescue Cody… and prevent the creation of a deadly biological weapon.

Abducted — Excerpt:

I walked out into Dalsing’s living quarters and then stopped dead, gaping in awe.

I wasn’t sure what I’d expected. Gleaming chrome and florescent lights, maybe. Or more of the malleable greenish mesh I’d been seeing in other parts of the ship. The last thing I’d expected was a forest. By that, I mean trees. A lot of trees. Though not Earth trees. In the relatively dark space, bioluminescent lines of blue-green and pink highlighted the rough edges of their bark and created swirls around knotholes and the bases of branches. Under my feet, a carpet of moss sparkled with shimmering silver, and glowing orange cones four or five inches high shot up in clusters like mushrooms.

“This is beautiful,” I said, whispering, afraid to disturb the stillness.

“It is my home world.”

I turned to find Dalsing standing behind me, naked again and holding out his robe to me.

“I am sorry,” he continued, “but I was unable to find a robe. You may wear mine, if this isn’t taboo in your culture, or you may look at my other clothing to see if anything else might suit you.”

I took the robe and smirked at him. “Are you sure you don’t get off on running around naked in front of me?”

“Get off?” He seemed genuinely puzzled.

I slipped the robe on and cinched the belt around my waist. “It means to get turned on—become sexually aroused. I’ve known guys who get turned on by being naked in front of other people.”

“Why is that?”

I thought about that for a second. “Well, I suppose it only works in a culture where being naked in front of other people is a rare thing. That doesn’t seem to apply here.”

“If I become sexually aroused,” Dalsing said, taking my hand and leading me deeper into the forest, “you will know. It will be obvious.” This was the first time we’d touched, skin to skin, and his hand was disconcertingly warm.

He was walking sideways, so he could look back at me as he spoke, and I couldn’t help but glance down at his crotch. “Why? Because your… genitals will pop out?”

“Eventually. But before that, my shiri will glow.” He stroked the darkly pigmented spots on his face with his free hand.

“Oh!” I exclaimed. “I remember! Some of the… Alzhen in the lounge were doing that.” I felt my face flush as it occurred to me those people must have been aroused. And they just walked around like that? In public?

But Dalsing laughed and shook his head. “That is just a paste some of us wear on social occasions to mimic arousal. Mostly younger Alzhen. My generation generally considers it… I am uncertain what the word is in your language….”

“Crass? Tacky?”

“Perhaps. You understand my meaning? It is something the young do.”

I couldn’t help but smile at that, imagining all the 150-year-old Alzhens shaking their heads in dismay at the way the younger generation dressed. They probably disapproved of their music too.

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