Androids & Aliens | J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: December 8th, 2022
Word Count: 67,000
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: Because of the rise in sea levels associated with climate change, Venice vanished 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 evenings 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 test score may doom him to a life of cheap graphic 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 if he turns it down?
Shit City: The Bay Area’s 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 a change of life?
Firedrake: Kerry has always wondered about his deadly powers. But a mysterious bunch of violet roses start 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.
This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place, and the first time the Pacific Climate Tryptich – What the Rain Brings, High Seven, and Full real – have been published in any form. Five of the stories were either initially published as standalones or in other collections or magazines.
Warnings: Full Real contains attempted kidnapping and references to off-page physical and sexual abuse.
From The Last Human Heart
I slip out of the culvert as the sun falls behind the tawny hills on the horizon, a green flash lighting the sky. My heart beats at a steady pace
Climbing back up onto the highway, I check the co-ordinates. With luck and a steady pace, I should reach the Trading Station by morning.
The stag crosses my mind again, that strange stare, beast to beast. There’s so little out here for it to live on or in, no trees or shade or shelter from the blistering sun. Just grass. Lots and lots of grass. Where did you go?
Taking one measured step after another, I start on my way, timing them to the beating of my heart.
A heady sense of possibility fills my chest. It’s strange, something I haven’t felt in years. I’ve traveled the length of the continent, from New York to California. I’ve been to Alaska and as far south as the isthmus, where rising seas finally finished the work of the Panama Canal, severing North and South America. In a few short centuries, humankind accomplished what Nature had labored for eons to do.
An hour later, I get my first look at the towers of Sacramento. I haven’t been here in decades, but it looks much the same as before. Its hulking skyscrapers and superscrapers look like bloody teeth in the infrared. Many are broken. Some still standing, others long since crashed back to the ground whence they came. They glow with stored heat, slowly bleeding it off into the atmosphere as the air cools.
Whence they came? I snort. I’m in rare form tonight—practically Shakespearian. Erik would have teased me endlessly for that.
I frown. He’s been on my mind a lot lately. Mortality having her fun with me?
I flash back to nights in Shanghai, fighting with my metal brothers and sisters in the street-to-street combat of the last wars. Flashes of light and explosions as nano bombs fell into civilian neighborhoods, eating everything in their path—stone and brick, flesh and bone.
I shudder. I should delete those memories—they only bring me pain. And yet… sometimes we need to remember the pain, so we don’t repeat it. But we can’t let it define us.
Who said that? Erik? My father?
No. It was Cassie. My erstwhile traveling companion for a couple years after the upload. When all that remained in this empty, broken world were the bots and empty, broken cyborgs like Cassie and me.
She’d finally shut herself down two decades ago. I’m tired of living, David.
Pain leaches away some of my good will. Maybe she had it right. Maybe it’s time for me, too, to give in to the inevitable. But I’m not quite ready yet, so I just keep moving.
About The Author
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 the committee chair for the Indie Authors Committee at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/
Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
Scott is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour: