Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: DSP Publications
Genre: Science Fiction-Space Opera
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.
I fear that no matter how I write this review, I will not do this book justice, and part of me just wants to say wow, you should read this book! If you have read any of J. Scott Coatsworth’s work, you know he is a science fiction and fantasy writer and I swear his work just keeps on getting better with each book he writes!
For this story, I’m not sure if you could say it is a story about humans making the move to living in space or if the story is about the new world itself, who goes by the name of Lex. For the first book in a series, there is a lot to cover, the number of characters, how they got to where they were and setting the stage for where they go from here. The story spans a 30 year period, starting in 2135 when earth is on the brink of disaster due to climate change and endless wars through to 2165 when it seems humans will now make the transition from homosapien to homostellar beings.
I loved the character of Lex, and for me, Lex was very much her own character throughout this story. While some say her purpose may be to be a host, I also wonder if that is the case and perhaps the humans, are the host to her growth? Seeing as how a good portion of the challenges and in some cases, destruction, in the story is at the hands of humans, not the planets or new world they inhabit. And oh, did that concept bring up a plethora of emotions for me. In the final part of the story, when a potential catalyst in introduced wanted to leave earth and aim for this new world, I had to put the book down for a while and reconcile the fear it brought up for me that no matter what technology does, no matter how “advanced” we think we are, we are already on the brink of irreparably damaging this beautiful earth we live on and if we created another utopia to live, humans would likely destroy that too. The concept made me very unsettled, and a bit angry, hence my walking away before I could finish the book!
That said, I highly recommend this book because it is so powerful, very well written and I am curious to see where the author is going to take this series. The world building is very well done and I felt drawn in with each period and each set of characters, although I would have thought both of Jackson’s sons would have been involved in the new world, but perhaps future books will give us Jayson’s story. And the character of Anastasia was one that I was not sure of initially, but it is quite fascinating the part she and Jackson go on to play with the new world and inner workings of Lex. I always say that if a book can get an emotional reaction from me, be it tears or, in this case, making me angry (I suspect world events add to that emotion as I found several parallels in the story and what is happening in the world), but if a book can bring out such strong emotions in me, it’s a great book because I became invested in the story and the characters. And this one was a very powerful one that was hard to put down, and I had a crick in my next to prove it!!!
This is not a romance story, but I do believe it is about relationships – amongst coworkers, neighbors, family and for me, especially, a relationship between any living creatures and the world they live in. If you enjoy science fiction and fantasy, I believe you will enjoy this introduction to the Liminal Sky series and I look forward to see how the series will go – I expect it will be quite the journey! And I would easily put this on my favorites of 2017 list!