The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth
Today I'm very pleased to welcome my friend, Scott Coatsworth. He's here to chat a bit about his newest novel, The Stark Divide! He also kindly answered a few questions for me. The Stark Divide will be released into the wild on October 10, 2017, but is now available for pre-order.
Some Q&A with Scott
If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
I always wanted to sit down with Anne McCaffrey and find out how she writes, how she came up with her Dragontriders of Pern. I used to imagine finding out where she lived and showing up on her doorstep with a box of oranges. Or something. I never really worked that part out, and yeah, I know, kinda stalkery. But I would love to have met her.
Maybe she’d have had an extra fire lizard for me. One can dream.
If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose, and why?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I think it would be the year I first met my husband. Especially if I knew then what I know now That was also my coming out year. We were so young together, and so full of life and energy and excitement for the future. I think we were brave then. Not in the same way we are now, but in the way only innocent youth can be.
If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
This is one of those trick questions, isn’t it? LOL… let’s see… does my husband count? If so, him, an In and Out Burger joint, and my pillow. I’d be a happy camper. :)
How would you describe your writing style/genre?
I tend to write on two tracks. The older one is sci fi and fantasy, which I’ve been doing since I was maybe fourteen. Over the years, those works have evolved from “mainstream” sci fi to stories that include a wide cast of queer characters, but the main thrust is still the sci fi plot and story. “The Stark Divide” and “Skythane” fall into this camp, though “Skythane” has a strong romantic element.
I also write MM romance, but usually with a twist. Many of my romance stories include sci fi, fantasy, or magical realism – a kind of heightened reality where magical things happen. “The Bear at the Bar,” “Between the Lines,” and my serial tale “The River City Chronicles all fit this mold.
I enjoy writing both, and often flip back and forth between them for variety.
Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
When I was a little kid, my nickname was “Scooter.” I don’t know why – I mean, I was a big bundle of energy – but it didn’t stick past the age of six or seven. When I was a teenager, I changed it to “Flash”, but it didn’t really stick, and for a few unfortunate years there in Jr. High when I was becoming an awkward teenager, some of the kids called me “Spaz.” Nowadays I’m mostly “Scott (yes, you can leave off the J. LOL) but my Italian study group friends call me by the Italianicized “Scotti.” There is no name equivalent for Scott in Italian, but the verb “scottare” means to burn or flame, so “scotti” is literally “you flame”. Which is oddly appropriate. *grin*
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
Purchase from DSP Publications
“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.
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Meet J. Scott Coatsworth
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.
Connect with J. Scott
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