QSFer J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.” This is a rerelease.
The Earth is dead.
Five years after the Collapse, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever: a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship.
When Eddy Tremaine and Andrissa “Andy” Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.
Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide. Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.
“Quality, innovative worldbuilding grounds this volume in the “Liminal Sky” series. Fans of The Expanse will find plenty to enjoy here as different groups with widely varying goals and beliefs come together in a struggle to survive the vastness of space and one another.” -Library Journal
Ana closed her eyes, visualizing the seed ship’s current trajectory. They’d rendezvous with 42 Isis in five days, their last stop in the solar system that had birthed mankind. Five years past, it had nearly been the location of its destruction.
The asteroid contained a high percentage of olivine, a mineral high in useful elements like oxygen, iron, magnesium, and silicon—a veritable feast.
Around Ana, the clean white laboratory that was her personal vee space domain was in perfect order, every surface spotless. A swipe of her virtual hand brought up an image of Forever, the long cylindrical generation ship hanging in the dark void of space between Mars and Jupiter.
The world sails had been pulled in, and Ana was in the process of nudging Forever into alignment with the asteroid, firing off excess bits of waste material to bring her into the proper trajectory. If all went well, Forever would end up with enough mass to finish build-out, along with a shield to help absorb space radiation on the journey to their new home.
Ana shook her head. That was clearly one of Jackson’s thoughts. She even picked up some of Lex’s thoughts at times. The original world mind veered off into philosophical territory to a degree that often surprised Ana—how an AI had become a philosopher poet.
The three Immortals, as they had jokingly taken to calling one another, were bleeding into each other more and more. It worried her.
This new second life was a gift beyond measure, certainly nothing she had ever expected. A chance to go with her creation across the stark divide, between the stars. But if the ultimate price was her own individuality, was it worth it?
She made a minor adjustment in the world trajectory, then shut off that part of her awareness. If she were needed, the system would let her know.
She slipped off through the conduits of the world mind to find Jackson.
The three Immortals had created a number of virtual worlds in vee space to pass the time when their skills weren’t needed. While it was possible to create AI personalities to populate each of their various worlds, these constructs took a lot of processing power, and the Immortals had quickly grown tired of that game.
The worlds they built now were usually empty except for the three of them.
She found Jackson in Frontier Station, sitting all alone in the gardens. The blue-green ball of Earth, as it once had been, stretched out below him.
“You’re bleeding into me again.” Ana took a seat on the bench next to him.
He glanced up, his face drawn, his nose red and puffy. He concentrated, and the tears and puffiness went away. “Was I? Sorry. I was just thinking of Glory.”
Even in vee space, we emulate our old human selves.
His wife, Gloria, had just passed away a few days before, after a protracted battle with cancer that the new world’s facilities weren’t set up to treat. So much had been lost in the flight from Earth.
They had agonized over whether to bring Glory into the world mind.
Jackson had requested it, but Ana and Lex, the other two Immortals, had both been against it. Their little team worked well enough together, and adding additional human minds was likely to muddy the waters. Besides, the mind only had so much capacity. It couldn’t hold everyone within its confines. It hadn’t been created for that purpose.
Ana sighed. She wasn’t blind to the human cost of that decision. “She liked it here.” She squeezed his shoulder. Jackson’s vee space was beautiful, though it broke her heart to see Earth once again as it had looked before the Collapse.
Jackson nodded. “This is where we first met.”
He must have been just as annoyed at her bleed-through thoughts. She was being insensitive again, considering all he was dealing with.
Being effectively immortal was turning out to be harder than she’d ever imagined. She put an arm around his shoulders and hugged him. “I am so sorry about Glory.”
He regarded her in surprise. “Thank you. That means a lot.”
“Ours is a lonely path. We must make sure they get where they are going. Nothing else matters.”
He nodded. “I know. But it’s hard. Good Lord, guide me.”
Although she didn’t believe in a higher power, she squeezed his arm gently. “I hope he does.”
Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was 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 all the people like him were.
He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).