Tangents & Tachyons | J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: December 10th, 2021
Word Count: 45,000
Six Sci-fi and Sci-fantasy shorts run the gamut from time travel to hopepunk and retro spec fic
Eventide: Tanner Black awakes to find himself in his own study, staring out the window at the end of the Universe. But who brought him there, and why?
Chinatown: Deryn lives in an old San Francisco department store with his girlfriend Gracie, and scrapes by with his talent as a dreamcaster for the Chinese overlords. But what if a dream could change the world?
Across the Transom: What if someone or something took over your body on an urgent mission to save your world?
Pareidolia: Simon’s not like other college kids. His mind can rearrange random patterns to reveal the images lurking inside. But where did his strange gift come from? And what if there are others like him out there too?
Lamplighter: Fen has a crush on his friend Lewin, who’s in a competing guild. But when the world goes dark, only a little illumination can save it. And only Fen, Lewin and their friend Alissa can light the spark. A Liminal Sky short.
Prolepsis: Sean is the closeted twenty-five-year-old editor of an 80’s sci-fi ‘zine called Prolepsis. When an unabashedly queer story arrives from a mysterious writer, it blows open Sean’s closet door, and offers him the chance to change the world – and the future.
Plus two flash fiction stories – The System and The Frog Prince, never before published.
This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place however five of the six stories were published in magazines and/or self-published.
From Pareidolia (not previously published)
Simon slammed the lid on his sugar-free, two-pump, pulse-heated vanilla latte, before he might accidentally get a good look at the pattern on the coffee’s surface.
Ethan, the barista, usually covered it for him, but he’d forgotten this time. Simon, distracted by the coffee shop’s textured wall, had almost missed it.
He’d jerked his gaze away when the whorls and lines in the plaster had shifted into a mountain landscape. He looked around as casually as he could manage, hoping no one had noticed the wall moving.
Simon put his prescription glasses back on. They blurred his vision just enough to block his curse from shifting any other patterns. If anyone ever found out what he could do, they’d stick him in a cage like a lab rat.
Fooling the optometrist had been easy enough—he’d just pretended that the clear letters were fuzzy and vice versa. Unfortunately, they made the handsome barista fuzzy too.
Simon sighed under his breath. An imperfect solution to an unwanted gift. He waved. “Have a good one.”
“You too.” Ethan winked at him.
Simon hurried out of the Student Union, keeping his eyes pointed forward, avoiding the patterns that flocked to him like birds to seed—clouds in the sky, the grains of wood on a table… even the swirls on Tracey Martin’s designer bag in class. He emerged into the fresh morning air, ducking as a drone zipped past overhead carrying a pizza to someone’s dorm.
He’d learned to control his curse in elementary school. Mostly. The glasses helped, and if he blurred his vision when the patterns started to become actual things, they stopped. Usually. Still, he’d gone to detention more than once for, “whatever you just did to your desk.”
There was a name for seeing things in random patterns—pareidolia. But most people didn’t seem to do it so literally.
“Ally, what’s the time?”
His PA responded in his ear in her usual chipper Italian accent. -It’s eleven-fifty-seven, Simon. You have a class in three minutes.-
“Crap.” He ran down the steps, knocking the wallet out of a woman’s hands. He grabbed it and tossed it to her. “Sorry!”
Then he bolted down the sidewalk, dodging a group of students flicking data over their wrists, and leapt like a track star over a short hedge to shave off fifteen seconds.
One of the Sac State professors shouted after him, “Slow down!”
“Sorry! Late for a lecture!” He hated being late—it drew attention to himself, and he liked to blend in. Plus, it’s a damned good course.
Professor Dandrich’s course—Finding Meaning in Interstellar Noise—was one of his favorites. If he could just find a job like that where he could use his strange ability…
Simon slipped into the hall and slammed into his seat in the front row of the lecture hall at a minute past noon, splashing his latte all over his arm. “Dammit.”
Everyone turned to look at him, and heat rushed to his face. So much for blending in.
About The Author
Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow with two pink flamingos in Sacramento. He inhabits the space between the here and now and the what could be. 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 the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecting their own reality. Scott is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
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QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
Scott is giving away a full set of his previously self-published eBooks to one lucky winner