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Review: Androids & Aliens – J. Scott Coatsworth

New Release / Giveaway: Androids & Aliens - J. Scott Coatsworth

Genre: Sci-Fi, Cli-Fi

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Lesbian

Reviewer: Maryann

Universal Buy Link

About The Book

Androids & Aliens is Scott’s third short story collection – eight sci fi and sci-fantasy shorts that run the gamut from cyborgs to (comedic) alien invasions:

Rise: The rise in sea levels caused by climate change swallowed Venice beneath the lagoon half a century ago. But what if we could bring it back?

Ping: I was a real estate agent by day, and a museum curator in the evening at a sci-fi museum. What I saw one night changed everything.

What the Rain Brings: Miriam struggles to make a living in post-climate-change Vancouver. But her friend Catalina has it even worse in the Arizona desert. So Miri hatches a plan.

High Seven: Zan dreams of making full reals – immersive live virtual reality skins – but his low score may doom him to a life of cheap coding.

Full Real: Dek’s given up his life of spying for the city. But one more case awaits him. Will he regret it more if he takes it, or turns it down?

Shit City: The Bay Area is being walloped by a hurricane, and seventeen-year-old Jason Vasquez has been relocated to a refugee city in the Nevada Desert. Will it be temporary shelter, or change his life?

Firedrake: Kerry has always wondered about his deadly powers. But a mysterious bunch of violet roses starts him on the path to discovery – even if he’s not sure he’s going to like what he finds.

The Last Human Heart: I’m one of the Remainers, the few cyborg humans still living on this busted planet. But if my still-human heart finally gives out, I may not live to find out the truth about who I am.

This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place, and the first publication of the Pacific Climate Tryptych – What the Rain Brings, High Seven, and Full Real – in any form.

The Review

All of the short stories in J. Scott Coatsworth’s new collection Androids & Aliens are fantastic, but for this review, I decided to focus on my four favorites:

#1 – SHIT CITY

I loved the characters, Jason Vasquez and Jackson Flynt, and would love to read more about them – I’d love to see this made into a series. Jason is so smart and fun – it’s hard not to recognize the young man’s intelligence and his willingness to help out in Shit City. He’s also a loving son who just wants to find his mother and know that she’s safe. Jackson Flynt is brooding and stubborn – mean and very snarky – but Jason can beat him at that game.  Flynt turns out to be a surprising character in the end.

#2 – WHAT THE RAIN BRINGS – NORTHWEST CLIMATE TRIPTYCH 1

Miriam, at forty-nine, lives in an old flat in Vancouver, alone except for her companion Echo, a raccoon, and her plants. She is an expert at fixing old tech, including air conditioners, increasingly important as the temperature soars higher. She stays very busy and earns her way via credits and barters. She is very worried for her friend Catalina, who lives in the desert in Arizona, where record heat waves are causing a mass migration. She also cares for Mr. Johnson, her elderly next door neighbor. When Mr. Johnson in need of a new air conditioner, she offers to fix his.  But she can’t leave the elderly man living without air.  She offers to take him in until she has time to fix it, but she catches Mr. Johnson in a horrid moment of PTSD and dehydration. She decides to take him in permanently, and takes care of him. On top of Mr. Johnson living with her and all of her work, the world is now in chaos.  Where is Catalina? Miri never gives up on her. What’s has happened to this dear friend? Her messages are few and very short.  As she waits for news, Mr. Johnson gives her support and encourages her to go on with the life that she’s made. I really like Miriam – she is a very caring person. The variety of emotions make this story wonderful.

#3 – HIGH SEVEN – NORTHWEST CLIMATE TRIPTYCH 2

Zan Miller is another great character – young and wanting a career that he can enjoy – he made this a great story. At eighteen, all he wants to do is to create art, especially “full reals.”.  But what he loves most is the art he secretly creates with his stylus from the past world, which is against the law in the domed city of Seattle. And even a worse, he only scored 7.9 on his final exams, and is afraid that his career is already over before it has even begun. And when someone finds out about his secret project, he will have to face his punishment. Will he be sent away into the outside world?

# 4 – FULL REAL – NORTHWEST CLIMATE TRIPTYCH 3

What has Derrick “Dek” Sims gotten himself into? He gave up the whole spy/secret agent gig over a year earlier. Now, someone has slipped him an unauthorized “full real,” in the form of an em-tab. As much as he doesn’t want to know what’s on the em-tab, he finds he can’t resist.  The em-tab and his old boss Es are causing problems in his new life with Ravi. Dek is still hiding secrets from him, but the time is not right to come clean, as they are about to celebrate their nine monthiversary. With the em-tab, Dek goes through the painful process of becoming someone else. Nia Khatri has escaped her father and left New Delhi for the Seattle Dome. But what’s really happening? Who will save Dek?  Will he ever see Ravi again or is all lost? I really got into Full Real, another tale I would like to see extended into a series. I liked Dek and Ravi and wanted to hear more about them. I also liked the mystery, suspense and the unique transformation from Dek and Nia. 

I really was excited when J. Scott Coatsworth sent me a copy of Androids & Aliens to read.  I’m not always very good with comprehending  futuristic sci-fi but I really was intrigued with this anthology of short stories about new strange worlds. The author also threads a wide variety emotions and interesting situations throughout these short stories, and there’s something here for everyone. 

Androids and Aliens is a magnificent work of amazing tales. I have to admit I haven’t tackled any of Mr. Coatsworth’s sci-fi novels as yet, but I love reading his short stories/novellas.  Those that I’ve read always leave me feeling there’s a lesson to be learned.  I found the “Northwest Climate Triptych” novellas particularly interesting because they all have some type of connection. And I’ll give special mention to “The Last Human Hear,” about a cyborg who may not make it to the end.

I highly recommend Androids and Aliens – it’s sci-fi entertainment at its best by the amazing and talented J. Scott Coatsworth.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

 

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