J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out, the final book in his Liminal Sky trilogy: "The Shoreless Sea." And books one and two are on sale!
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.
The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth's technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.
But during the generation ship's decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They'll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can't understand.
The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.
Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.
The eBook for book one in the Liminal Sky trilogy, "The Stark Divide," is just 99¢, and book two, "The Rising Tide," is $1.99 at all vendors:
Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, along with three eBook sets of his Oberon Cycle trilogy. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4778/?
Kiryn Hammond-Clarke floated in the darkness of space, stars he’d never seen in person twinkling against the velvety black depths.
The voice came to him from out of nowhere. “Can anyone hear me?”
In his dreams, he could hear. Like when Belynn let him ride in her mind.
The voice repeated, sounding stretched and thin. “Is anyone out there?”
In the distance, a single star glowed brighter than all the others, though it was still just a small golden dot.
Kiryn reached out toward the light, his hand naked to the cold of the void.
Ice crystals formed on his arm, hardening it in place. The cold reached into his bones like knives of frozen glass. It raced up his bicep, the burning cold fire of the void.
He snatched back his arm, but he was too late. The freezing grip reached his heart, and he screamed silently—
Kiryn awoke with a start, sitting up in bed in his dorm room drenched with sweat. He ran his hands through his dark hair, letting them come to rest clasped behind his head.
First Light flashed past in the trees outside his window, brightening up the room.
The world was utterly silent.
The silence, his constant companion since birth, was particularly soothing after his rude awakening. It wrapped itself around him like a blanket, a suit of armor, a barrier between him and the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Between him and emotion.
He held his arm out for inspection, half expecting it to be blackened by the void. Instead, it looked perfectly normal. Warm and tan, halfway between his mothers’ sepia and white skin tones.
He shivered at the memory.
The bed moved under him, and his date from the night before sat up, his mouth moving soundlessly.
The man was handsome, a Thyrean sent to the university at Micavery for his higher schooling—long limbs, blond hair shaved short, warm brown eyes.
His name was Dax. Or Zack. Or something.
Kiryn’s lipreading was decent, but he hadn’t bothered to spend too much time learning this one’s name. Dax or Zack hadn’t seemed to mind much.
Kiryn pointed at his ear and shook his head.
The man’s mouth closed, and he blushed. “Sorry. I forgot.”
That one was easy enough to read.
He grabbed the piece of cotton paper and a pencil Kiryn kept at his bedside just for that purpose and scribbled something out longhand, then handed it over to him.
It’s Dax. And are you okay?
Kiryn stared at him. Did you just read my mind? Maybe there was a little Liminal in him. He laughed, wondering not for the first time what it sounded like from the outside. It felt clunky and awkward on the inside.
He sighed and took the paper and pencil.
Dax’s hand lingered over his for an extra second before letting go.
Bad dream. Class in fifteen minutes. He hesitated, then scribbled, Dinner?
Dax took the paper, and a grin lit up his face. His eager nod needed no translation. I work at the hatchery until six. Meet me there?
Kiryn nodded and grinned.
Dax slipped out of bed and pulled on his trousers and white shirt, the V-neck showing off his chest to perfection.
Kiryn sat back with his hands behind his head, admiring the view.
He leaned over, kissed Kiryn on the cheek, and mouthed, “See you.”
When Dax left, Kiryn grabbed a change of clothes and headed down the hall to the dorm bathroom. He hopped into the shower, using the aromatic red berry soap bar his mom and mamma had sent him from the Estate. The smell transported him, and he closed his eyes and imagined himself standing among the long, even rows of red berry vines that arched across the hillsides.
His parents worried about him, out here alone, but it was Andy who had insisted he go.
When Kiryn had been born congenitally and profoundly deaf, Andy and Shandra had learned sign language from the world mind in vee.
There were so few other deaf people in Forever. So few like him.
The day before he was set to leave for university, to catch the public wagon headed for Darlith and then Micavery, he’d had a huge panic attack.
His parents had sat him down along with his sister, Belynn:
“I’m scared. Why do I have to go away?” He was fidgeting, nervous.
“You have to go. There’s nothing here for you.” Andy indicated the Estate, where the family had built a thriving agricultural business on the backs of Trip’s and Colin’s earlier work.
“You’re here.” His hands signed it while his knee bounced up and down.
Andy shook her head. “This is our place. You need to go.”
He flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was such a burden.”
“No.” That was emphatic. “That’s not what I meant. We don’t want you to get trapped here, working on the Estate for the rest of your life. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore.” She looked up at Shandra, who nodded.
“I’ll go with him,” Belynn said and signed it at the same time, but he could hear her inside his head too.
Mom could do that, too, of course, but she had to touch him to do it.
“You’re not ready.” Shandra glared at Belynn and shook her head.
“I’ve been with Kiryn in every vee class since I was born. I’m only two years younger than he is. Let me go with him to help.”
Kiryn frowned. He wasn’t sure he wanted his little sister tagging along after him, cramping his style. If he decided to go.
Belynn’s hand found his, palm to palm, and he could feel her emotions. We can take care of each other. That thought was private, just for him, inside his head.
Andy looked at Shandra. “They could take care of each other.” She echoed Belynn’s thought and touched Shandra’s hand. Something passed between them.
Shandra looked at him and then at Belynn, uncertainty clear on her face. “We could… try it.”
Belynn squeezed his hand. “Yes!”
“For a semester.” Andy kissed Shandra on the forehead.
Kiryn thought about it. It would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Someone who really knew him. “Okay.” And it would be a lot less scary.
Where are you, big brother? Belynn’s insistent voice.
I’ll be back in a minute. He pulled the towel from its wooden peg, dried off his hair and shoulders.
A couple of the other guys in the dorm, Stave and Trevor, waved on their way to their own showers. Cute as hell, but straighter than the old antenna on Micavery’s village green. Well, except when Stave got drunk on red berry wine….
Kiryn grinned. He pulled on his trousers and shirt and padded back to his room. Belynn was waiting for him on his bed. “How did you get in?” he signed.
They touched palms, the emotions flowing between them and synching.
“Easy. Aric at the front desk is a sucker for a pretty girl.”
“Like I said, how did you get in?”
She stuck out her tongue at him. “Come on. We’re going to be late.” She tugged him off the bed, and Kiryn barely had time to grab his carry sack before she had him out the door and down the hall.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
The Shoreless Sea is the penultimate book in the Liminal Sky series. This book packs in a lot of information in it's pages, so be prepared for a lot of storytelling.
It's no secret that I'm sci-fi/fantasy book addict and am always looking for the next good read to devour. This series has more then filled that need for a well written book, with highly developed world building, and characters that are constantly developing. While this series does feature multiple couples, this is not a romance. These stories are straight up dystopian science-fiction, with a healthy dash of fantasy woven within.
The Shoreless Sea features 3 separate timelines events that feature the same characters at different points in their lives, their relationships, and their abilities. This is not a book to devour in one sitting. Which is actually what I did, but I feel like it needs more than that because of the depth to the story. Really there is a LOT of storyline packed into each of the timelines, and it needs to be savored vs devoured in this case.
The characters in this book are extremely well developed, and have complex POVs, that carry into the story as they weave their parts into the full story. Again t his is not a book to skim, this is one you have to pay attention to every word on the page. Yes I do keep repeating that because honestly, if you blink, or skim the page, you're going to miss something that might impact a later part of the story.
I don't want to share the elements of the story because that may ruin your enjoyment. I do want to encourage everyone to pick up this book if you've read the rest of the series, or the whole series if you've never read it. It's so worth it!!
I look forward to many more stories from this author. I thoroughly enjoy his 'voice' in storytelling, and his world building is on par with that of the old sci-fi masters. So if you have some free time, pick up this book or this series and enjoy!!
Excerpt – The Shoreless Sea
From Part Two, Chapter One
Belynn stacked the mugs on her platter, looking around the empty tavern in despair.
There’d been a raucous party, a birthday for one of the town luminaries, such as they were. The place was a mess. Tables knocked over, stacks of dirty plates, and a pile of something in one corner on the floor that she didn’t care to examine too closely.
Wenda had sent her son, Dany, to say she was sick and couldn’t come in, so Belynn had had all the fun to herself. She and Wenda had enjoyed a brief fling when Belynn had arrived in Thyre, but it had burned out quickly. Now they were fast friends.
She sipped the last bit of beer from the bottom of one of the mugs, feeling the pleasant numbness return like an old friend. She lived now from drink to drink, waking up gasping in the middle of the night and searching for her flask. Her job as the barkeep here at the Shattered Moon kept her busy and gave her an excuse to drink on the job. Not a lot. Just a little at a time. One long, steady drunken jag to keep her demons at bay.
To keep Lilith away.
The bell on the front door rang as she carried the first load of mugs and plates into the back to deposit them into the washbasin.
“We’re closing, sorry!” It was past midnight, and she was going to have enough of a chore getting the place back into shape without more customers.
“Just one drink?”
Belynn turned to find Gordy popping his head into the kitchen. “Hey there!” She set the tray on the wooden counter, wiped her hands on her apron, and ran to embrace him. “What are you doing here?”
His hair was longer, pulled back into a tail, and his face had a few lines that hadn’t been there the last time she’d seen him. But he was still Gordy.
He grinned. “I heard the best-looking waitress in Thyre worked here.”
“Yeah, well, she’s sick today. You’re stuck with me.” She looked up at him. He was different, but still Gordy—still the same raffish hair, and those brown eyes…. “It’s good to see you.”
“You too.” He glanced over his shoulder. “You have a mess out there. Mind if I help?”
“That would be great. We had a big party in here—”
“Yeah, something like that.” She handed him a platter. “Here, start gathering dishes. I’ll get to work cleaning them.” She opened the valve to fill the sink and started putting food scraps in the bin for a trip to the dissolution pit. If Wenda had been here, she would have taken them home for her cats.
“What are you doing in Thyre?” She was happy to see him, but the last time they’d been in the same room was when they’d broken up, after a whirlwind relationship that had lasted almost six months. “Weren’t you settled in Micavery?”
She hadn’t been in much of a place for a relationship back then, tainted as she was by what Lilith and the acolytes had done to her. Truth be told, she wasn’t in much better shape now, five years later. She’d just learned to live with it and had taken up her old self-medication habit to cope with the stain.
Gordy returned with a stack of dishes and unloaded them on the mallowood counter. “I did. I got a job there—at the Knife’s Edge.” He showed off the scabbard hanging from his waist. “They have me making knives. Turns out I’m quite good at it.”
She nodded. “You’d be good at just about anything you put your mind to, I think.” Belynn rolled up her sleeves and grabbed a cloth and some reed soap. She sudsed up the cloth and started cleaning the dishes, stacking them for rinsing and drying. “I appreciate the help. Wenda was sick tonight….” Her hand was shaking. It was one of the signs.
She set down the cloth and picked up a half-full mug of beer and downed it.
“Still doing that, I see.” Gordy set down the tray, unloading the dishes and carefully avoiding her gaze.
“Yeah. Still doing it.” She went back to washing, her face hot. “It… it helps. With the stain.”
He was quiet for a moment. The only sounds were the clank of plates and the splash of the cloth in the water. “I’m sorry.”
“For what? You didn’t do anything.” On the contrary. He’d done everything he could to help her. She just hadn’t been ready to accept it.
“Are you happy?”
She stopped, her hands holding tightly onto the ceramic plate. She squeezed her eyes shut. How dare you ask me that? How the hell could I be happy after that? She took a deep breath and forced herself to open her eyes. She finished cleaning the plate and set it down with the others before answering. “I get by.”
He put an arm on her shoulder. “Oh, Belynn. I’m so sorry—”
She pulled away from him like his touch burned. “Are there more dishes?”
His hand withdrew, and she heard him leave the kitchen.
I scared him off. She sighed again and went back to cleaning the plates and mugs. Just as well. She had her life down to a workable schedule now. She didn’t need any additional variables or unexpected interruptions.
The door swung open and Gordy deposited more dishes. He didn’t say another word.
He stayed. She took comfort from that fact.
They worked in silence, and after about an hour all the dishes were cleaned and rinsed and put away, and the common room—even the disgusting corner where someone had lost their dinner—had been put back into order.
She served herself a beer from the barrel—one of the perks of being the manager—and offered him one too.
“No thanks.” His first words since she’d all but bitten his head off. “I’ll take some water, though.”
They sat down together. She was tired but satisfied with her work. There was something cathartic about putting things in order, about organizing things on the outside even if she was a mess on the inside.
“So why are you here?” she asked at last. Few came to Thyre by chance. It was the edge of the world, more or less, a rough-and-tumble town obsessed with building a wall around Forever. Someday it might be a great city. For now, it was the place you went when you didn’t fit in anywhere else.
Still, she liked its spirit. When that spirit didn’t throw up on her clean floor.
He sat back, staring at her, and took a sip of his water. “You’re still hurting.”
She nodded. “Some days are worse than others.”
She shook her head. “The alcohol keeps them away. It’s the stain. The memory of the stench in my brain that won’t go away.” She shuddered and took another sip of alcohol. The key was control. Just a little. A sip here and there to keep herself in the safe zone.
“You’re not okay.” Gordy’s words were accusing, or they should have been. But instead they were full of compassion, even their own pain. “I’m so sorry.”
“Sorry for what?”
“I should have checked in on you. I should have… I should have stayed.”
She shook her head. “Not your fault. I was broken. I’m holding it together now.” Mostly.
He took her mug away, set it down on the mallowood table, and wrapped his arms around her tightly.
She closed her eyes. It felt good to be held by someone who cared for her. It had been a long time, and Gordy was a good guy. Why are you here? He hadn’t come all this way just to ask her how she felt.
She pushed him away gently. “You still haven’t told me why you came.”
He sat back, his hand on his chin, as if considering the best way to say something. “Kiryn asked me to come.”
“Ah.” So this was all just another plan of her brother’s to “make her better.”
She got up to finish closing up and shoo him out the door, but he reached for her and touched her arm, pulled her back gently. “Please. Let me finish.”
Belynn sat back down reluctantly. Five minutes. Then she was going home. Alone.
“We’re going into the inthworld.”
That got her attention. “What? How… where is it?”
“The world mind found it. She wants us to save it and to neutralize the threat.” He took her hand. “Belynn, we need you, and I think you need this too.”
Belynn’s carefully ordered defenses came crashing down. Lilith. Oh, spin-fucking Lilith.
She’d spent the last five years running from what had happened to her, the taint that creature had left in her head. She’d even tried a support group for Davian’s possession victims, but it wasn’t the same. They had been unaware of their captivity, virtually zombies.
She had been very aware of hers, a captive in her own mind while Lilith gleefully raped her consciousness. Even the intifada’s other victims hadn’t suffered through the same level of invasion and corruption that she had.
Her hands were shaking again. “I’m… scared. I don’t know if I can face her again.”
“No, you don’t! Every day, every waking hour, I think about it. About her. What if she finds me again? What if she… takes me again?” She grabbed the mug and took a deep draught, the liquid burning down her throat, and then slammed it down. “That’s why I drink. The voices, they were annoying… torture even, sometimes. But I could learn to live with them. But Lilith….” She whispered the name, as if saying it out loud might conjure the beast. “I can’t let her find me. Not again.”
“Then let’s find her first.”
She stared at him like he was crazy. I’ve been running for so long. “I don’t think I can.”
“You have to do something—”
“Don’t tell me what I have to do.” She laid her hands flat on the table, willing them to be still. “Come on.” She set the two mugs on the bar. She would put them away tomorrow. Or someone would.
She pulled him outside and locked the door.
Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain 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 seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
A Rainbow Award winning author and Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) member, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.
Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
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