The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth

Title: The Stark Divide

Series: Liminal Sky 01

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Novel (284pgs)

ISBN: 978-1-63533-833-1

Publisher: DSP Publications (10th October 2017)

Heat Level: Nil

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: 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.

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Review: The Stark Divide throws you into the stars as Earth races towards extinction. Humanity takes one last grasping chance to save themselves even as the world dies around them because of their stupidity, and even in the dying last breaths they continue throwing nuclear missiles at each other and condemning the entire species.   

J. Scott Coatsworth has written an amazing science fiction novel that sends shivers down your spine because of the ring of truth to it.

The setting of the story is a living world/ship that’s an amazing combination of organic/technology with an artificial intelligence that is more than it seems.

The story starts from the very beginning of Forever’s life when she’s still a seedling and the amazing crew who first ‘plant’ her. The Dressler’s crew, Captain Colin McAvery, Anastasia Anatov scientist and creator of the seedlings (Forever) and Jackson Hammond ship’s engineer, have the important task of ensuring that the seedling is planted on an asteroid so it can begin growing so it can save a portion of humanity. The problem is something’s wrong with the Dressler and it’s a race against time.

The story then jumps in time with Colin, Anastasia and Jackson’s son Aaron meeting as Forever is being colonised for human habitation. It’s a fraught time as truths come out and Forever doesn’t forget grudges.

The final segment in the story is 30 years on from Forever’s birth, while Forever still isn’t quite big enough or ready for mass human habitation the Earth is failing, and refugees are flocking to Forever.  

This really is an amazing story and while it has gay, lesbian and Trans characters I would actually say that this is a more mainstream story. There’s no romance and no one character to focus on, the story is about Forever’s journey with the stories of some of the humans who are important to her survival coming through.

The world building is absolutely amazing; we get to see a new world emerging through determination and survival instincts, we get to picture through the authors words exactly what a new world for humans might be like, living inside that world… it’s just amazing.

The characters each come to life, their hopes, dreams, fear, anger, desperation and shame comes through brilliantly, we are left in no doubt as to what the characters are going through.

This isn’t your usual science fiction story, there’s no danger other than that brought on by humans stupid actions, there’s no aliens racing to help humanity, there’s no devastating natural world event, there’s no nicely timed rescue of Earth. It’s a story of amazing ingenuity, characters connected by the beginning and shear survival instincts.

I recommend this to those who love deep science fiction stories, who adore a storyline that pulls you along in its wake, who love interesting characters, and an ending that is also a brand new beginning.