Title: The Stark Divide
Series: Liminal Sky: Book One
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 284 Pages
At a Glance: What I liked most about The Stark Divide is how it incorporated the ship-mind into the story. I really enjoyed this inclusive, fast-paced read and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Reviewed By: Jovan
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.
Review: The Stark Divide is a well-written and well-paced opener for the sci-fi trilogy The Liminal Sky. With its ensemble cast of characters and succinct yet fluid style, it tackles many complex issues such as forgiveness and redemption, climate change, religion, politics, classism, technological advancement, etc., in a subtle way that fits in the narrative and manages to tell an interesting tale.
The book is divided into three parts, each following several different people as the reader experiences the birth and development of the organic Seed Ship Ariadne, called Forever by most. The first part takes place in 2135 AD, a time in which devastating global heatwaves, rising oceans, and extreme storms have changed the earth’s landscapes and resources drastically, but technological advancements driven by Anastasia “Ana” Anatov and her father have created hybrid organic-mechanical ships run by a ship-mind that are the forerunners to the technology for the seeds from which the Seed Ships grow. These Seed Ships are ships that will create a new world in which humans can live until they reach a new galaxy with a habitable planet generations later.
On their transport ship the Dressler, Ana, the ship’s scientist, Colin McAvery, the captain, and Jackson Hammond, the engineer, are transporting a seed to the asteroid Ariadne where it will be planted in order to consume the asteroid and incorporate it into itself to build the world ship. The second part takes place ten years later and examines how the world on Forever has progressed and the changes that have occurred in the lives of the crew of the Dressler, while the last part takes place in 2165 AD, where life on Earth is taking its last shuddering breaths into annihilation, and the people on Forever are confronted with a refugee crisis and the realization that they may soon be on their own.
What I liked most about The Stark Divide is how it incorporated the ship-mind into the story, not just as an advanced AI that brings up the question of what is the soul, consciousness, and all the entangling metaphysical and philosophical questions AI brings, but the reader gets to see what the world-mind, named Lex, does. How her consciousness grows, how she sees the world, and what that means for the world Lex creates. Moreover, because the book follows various people and uses some of them to connect all three parts, it can explore a range of topics such as forgiveness, human nature, the divide between human technological achievement and creationism, how far is too far, and whether human beings are forever doomed to self-destruction. I really enjoyed this inclusive, fast-paced read and can’t wait to see what happens next.
You can buy The Stark Divide here:
[zilla_button url=”https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b” style=”blue” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”] DSP Publications [/zilla_button][zilla_button url=”http://books2read.com/TheStarkDivide” style=”blue” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon & Other Booksellers [/zilla_button]