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Fix the World Anthology

twelve sci-fi writers save the future

Fix the World Anthology
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 6.99
Pages: 238
Paperback - First Edition: $ 16.99
ISBN: 978-1-7323075-8-2
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 238

We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics,  an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world.  From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society,

The future’s not going to fix itself.

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The rumbling increased to a roar, and more dark patches appeared in the green lagoon waters. So expensive. So laborious to stabilize what was left. But every bit worth it, in this moment.

A great spume of water sprayed high enough to throw a shimmer of mist across her face as the first part of the old city broke the surface. As the spume cleared, the top of the Campanile di San Marco rose above the water, green roof gleaming like new. A nice touch. The Restoration Guild must have worked overtime on that one. Its golden weathervane was gone, but the bas relief of the lion of St. Mark made her clutch her heart.

“Mamma, what’s the lion for?” She licked chocolate off her hands, desperate to make her afternoon snack last just a little longer.

“It’s the symbol of the city.” Mamma put her hand on Cinzia’s chest, patting it—boom boom, boom boom. “The beating heart of who we are.”

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Cinzia stumbled. It felt like yesterday.

“You okay?” Gio’s brow creased.

“I… sorry, yes. So many memories.”

Skipping over the bridges. The bad days of the quarantine. The corner market where mamma used to do her grocery shopping…

The Flood.

Another building broke the surface nearby—the Santa Maria della Salute, the beautiful basilica. Water poured off the gorgeous green domes in a thundering flood. They were mostly intact, though one of the smaller ones had a gaping hole—water poured out of it, cascading down to the lagoon like a waterfall, joining the general uproar of the Rise.

“Look, Kendra. You can see the outlines of the Canal Grande now.” The old waterway—the pulsing artery of the city—snaked away from them like a backwards ’S.’ In the distance, she could make out the edge of the Sestriere Cannaregio, the district where her mamma had lived in a modest apartment in an old stone palazzo that looked out on a concrete courtyard.

Waters rising, as it rained for close on a month, coming ever closer to their own second-floor balcony.

What if the water doesn’t stop coming?” Cinzia stared out at the concrete courtyard, where the seawater swirled and churned.

“Don’t worry about that, tesoro. The water always stops, eventually. Now come here and help me with dinner.”

She had been lucky. She had survived.

All across the lagoon, the buildings of Venice were rising from the water. Many were broken, piles of bricks and debris covered with algae and surprised fish that flopped around on suddenly exposed land. The outlines of the city were becoming clear as water poured out of the buildings, churning the lagoon into a muddy, frothy mess.

A row of palazzos along the edge of the Canal Grande collapsed, sending up a deafening roar as they crumbled into rubble. Cinzia stepped back instinctively, pulling Kendra with her as the platform rose thirty meters into the air to avoid the cloud of debris that briefly rose above the lagoon before settling back to earth.

“Nothing to be alarmed about. Not all buildings were stabilized prior to the Rise.” Doctor Horvat’s lined face nodded reassuringly from the hovering screen before them, her voice broadcast across the world and to the Lunar colonies far above. “We expected some collapses. We will keep you away from the dangerous areas.”

“What if the city doesn’t stop rising?” Kendra grasped the railing, her gaze locked on the scene below.

Gio knelt next to the girl. “There’s no chance of that. The polyps have a very short lifetime…”

Cinzia was grateful to him. He probably understood the science behind all of this far better than she.

Her mind drifted.

They ate the last of the almond cantucci, savoring the hard cookies even though they were stale. Cinzia was still hungry, but she knew better than to ask for more. There was no more.

Outside, the rain had finally slowed to a constant drizzle.

Mamma ruffled her hair, managing a wan smile. “I need you to stay here, Cinzia. Someone will come for you, I promise. I will find us help.”

The helicopters had stopped coming days before, and the boats that had been plentiful the first few days, with men telling them to stay put, had bypassed their part of the city ever since.

The rumbling subsided.

Cinzia opened her eyes and looked around. For just a moment, there was absolute silence on the traghetto, along the shore, and on the sky board.

She looked over the railing.

Venice—her Venice—lay before her. It was in sad shape. Many of the landmarks she remembered were tarnished or broken. Whole zones of the city had collapsed, and except for Piazza San Marco, a green film covered the risen city. She was a ghost of her former glory.

But she was there, as solid and real as the hand before Cinzia’s face.

 

—From "Rise," by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Eventide

Book Cover: Eventide
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 0.99
Pages: 33

What if you woke up in a strange place that was as familiar as your own home, but also completely strange and different? What if you opened your curtains to find the universe looking back at you?

Welcome to Eventide.

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Cailleadhama: Through the Veil

Caileadhama: Through the Veil
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 2.99
Pages: 100
Paperback - First: $ 8.99
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 100

Colton is a trans man living in a climate-changed world. He plies the canals that used to be city streets, earning a living taking tourists on illicit journeys through San Francisco's flooded edges beneath the imposing bulk of the Wall.

Tris is an elf who comes through the veil to the City by the Bay - the Caille - on a coming of age pilgrimage called the Cailleadhama. He is searching for his brother Laris, who went missing after crossing through the Caille years before.

The two men find they have common cause, and together they set off to find Laris in a world transformed by the twin forces of greed and climate change. And in the end, they find out more than they ever expected, both about the warming world and their own selves.

Note: This story was originally published in the "Myths Untold: Faery" anthology from Wilde City Press. It is presented here in its original form.

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Reviews:Chris Sweeso on Bayou Book Junkie wrote:

I loved how the author wove action with mythology and romance and gave us a very detailed story that I just couldn’t put down until it ended! Colton and Tris were both amazing on their own, but together they seemed unstoppable and I was very happy with how their relationship progressed and the resolution in the end.


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Translation

Translation - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 0.99
Pages: 50

Dominic is a writer who has it bad for his Italian boss, Dante. But Dante doesn't seem to feel the same.

With his roommate Enrico, Dominic hatches a plan to get Dante's attention, but when it gets lost in translation and misfires badly, he doesn't know what to do.

Will he ever get his happily ever after?

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Ithani

Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle Book 3

Ithani - J. Scott Coatsworth - Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle
Part of the Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle series:
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 4.95
Pages: 325
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 18.99 AUD
Pages: 325

Time is running out.

After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani―the aliens who broke the world―have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike.

And in the north, the ithani rise….

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Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream.
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Erina’s iridescent wings fluttered in distress.
The time of the Great Migration was almost upon them. Overhead, the sun turned redder day by day. Soon it would unleash a torrent of heat and radiation that would destroy the ithani, the Heart, and Erro itself.
Ze had foreseen the end of the war years before and had passed zer knowledge on to Thshnel’Jirron, trusting zi to protect them all. But zis plan had gone too far, and soon the ithani would destroy themselves in a bid for immortality.
Only zi would survive, immensely more powerful than now. A virtual vengeful god.
Ze had seen that, too, but it had come to zer far too late.
Each generation of the ithani had a seer, and ze had been born from the Heart with that heavy responsibility upon zer small shoulders. Even a seer didn’t know everything about what was to pass. Only the bits and pieces that were passed on to zer from the athrà. Besides Jirron, no one else knew ze had the gift.
Something, or someone, was coming, ze didn’t know what yet, but ze could feel it in zer bones.
Ze was at a loss for what to do next. Ze let out a whoosh of breath, resigned to waiting. It would come to zer, the vision she needed. When the gods thought it was time.
Until then, ze would keep zer wings low to the ground and do nothing further to draw attention.

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Reviews:Melanie on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words wrote:

"This book is magical in its reach and edifying in the joy and depth of its conclusion... an absolute tour de force... That’s just the way this whole novel goes…like dancing lights above a lake. It will entrance you, pull you in, leave you to wonder at it all. And then make you want to take the journey all over again."

Joscelyn Smith on Goodreads wrote:

"FINALLY! This was an absolutely brilliant ending to the Oberon series. The cliffhanger ending of Lander left me desperate for more but Ithani more than made up for the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, my only complaint is that this is the end and I'm going to miss these amazing characters. I have no doubt that I'll be rereading this series more than once."


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The Rising Tide

Liminal Sky: Ariadne Cycle Book 2

The Rising Tide - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 6.99
Pages: 380
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 19.99 AUD
Pages: 380

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

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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.

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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 mate‐ rial 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.

Thank God.

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.”

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Reviews:Pixie on MM Good Book Reviews wrote:

This is an amazing story, the world building, the character story development which keeps you gripped as you discover what’s happening, are so fully fleshed out that you get immersed in their world, you feel for the guys as they struggle to put their world to rights and battle an evil that wants to rule with an iron grip to serve his wants and whims... I recommend this to those who love deep science fiction stories, who adore a storyline that pulls you along in its wake, who love interesting characters, who love the sheer instinct to survive, and an ending that leaves you feeling fulfilled but wondering what could be next for our intrepid survivors.


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Gargoyle

Gargoyle
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 0.99
Pages: 10

James Matson - Mattie to his friends - has it bad. It's 1974 in Alabama, not the best time or place for a young gay guy to have a crush on his college football quarterback. But James can't help himself.

Randy Paxton is a football player with needs. His girlfriend isn't putting out, so he takes what he can get. A warm mouth is a warm mouth, after all.

And Daniel O'Malley has a crush too... on James. But James hardly gives him a second glance. What's a guy to do?

It's Halloween night, the time when the veil between this world and the next thins, and anything can happen. And tonight, something will happen, something that will change all three of their lives forever.

A very abbreviated version of this short short story originally appeared on the WROTE Halloween Podcast in 2015. This version has been extended.

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Lander

Oberon Cycle Book 2

Lander - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 4.95
Pages: 294
Paperback - First Edition: $ 16.99
Pages: 294

Sometimes the world needs saving twice.

Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.

Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander's kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.

In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.

Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel artificial? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?

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Jameson savored the kiss, his arms around Xander, the way they fit together just right. They were finally together, and Titania and Oberon were one again.

Erro, Quince had called this new world. Like the skythane god of the sun, the one Errian and the Erriani were named for.

For the moment, everything was right in his life, and he never wanted it to end.

A cold drop of water on his cheek brought him out of his reverie. He glanced up. Storm clouds were piled high, swiftly overtaking them. Rain began to pour out of the sky like a waterfall, and thunder echoed in the clouds as the valley went dark, sunlight smothered by the onrushing clouds. Nearby trees thrashed about in the wind, their purple leaves fluttering in distress.

“What the hell?” Xander said as the winds picked up and ruffled the feathers of his wings. He stared up at the black tempest.

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“The Split!” Jameson shouted over the howling of the wind. He mimed the two halves of the world, each with their own atmosphere, suddenly being forced together in the middle. “When the Oberon half shifted, all the atmosphere it brought with it along the Split was forced up here!”

A bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, crisping it to ashes and standing Jameson’s hair on end.

“Run!” Xander shouted.

Jameson’s vision swam, and a memory slipped into his conscious mind from that other part of him—a high-ceilinged cavern that was more like a faery palace than a cave—where he’d stolen away with a lover. More than once.

His stomach heaved at the displacement, and he clenched his hands. That wasn’t me. They were someone else’s memories.

“Follow me!” he shouted at his four companions—Xander, Quince, Kadin, and Venin—and ran toward the cliffs that were rapidly fading to invisibility behind the rain. He pushed down the memory-nausea, tasting bile in the back of his mouth.

Alia was missing. He’d last seen her as they had fled the Mountain, when it had begun to collapse. Jameson looked around wildly, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Alia?” he shouted at Kadin as they ran. Thunder shook the valley.

Kadin shook his head, mouthing, “I don’t know.”

Rain swirled all around them, coming down so fast that it pooled on the ground and ran in rivulets downhill toward the lake that was now half filled with the broken remains of the Mountain.

The mud made the footing treacherous. Jameson clambered up the hill, using roots and rocks that offered a firmer surface than the naked ground. The wind tugged at his wings, threatening to flip him over. He pulled them in tightly and glanced back to be sure the others were following him through the tempest.

Jameson reached the cover of the forest, plunging under the protection of the canopy. The trees here were tall and thin with white bark trunks and broad purple leaves that were being shredded by the storm.

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The Stark Divide

Liminal Sky: Ariadne Cycle Book One

The Stark Divide - J. Scott Coatsworth
Part of the Liminal Sky series:
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 4.95
Pages: 290
Paperback - Second Edition: $ 14.99
Size: 9.00 x 6.00 in
Pages: 290

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.

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Reviews:Ryane on Thorns & Ink wrote:

Mr. Coatsworth continues to delight me with each book he writes. I am whisked off to reaches unknown, or reminded of places I’d like to see. He spins tales of longing, despair, faith (not always in the religious sense), and hope. Hope being the key feature of all of his stories. Hope keeps you young. Faith keeps you believing in hope. These are lessons we forget or we become too cynical to carry.


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The Great North

A Legendary Love Book 1

The Great North
Part of the A Legendary Love series:
  • The Great North
Editions:ePub - First Edition: $ 3.99
ISBN: B07172TL6H
Pages: 176

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

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Reviews:Cheryl on Sinfully Gay wrote:

I love what the author did with the legend, keeping the main elements true but playing with it just enough to make a satisfying story. I just adore the ending and it would almost be worth going through the end of the world just to get where they are.

All in all, this was a lovely book. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of it. The characters were engaging, the story fresh (well a fresh version anyway) and it was wonderful to see elements of my home country that are as rare as hen’s teeth. A very satisfying read all round and one I can heartily recommend.

Molly Lolly on Molly Lolly wrote:

I adored this story. It was sweet and completely fascinating. I enjoyed the way the story was set in a real place but in a future time when things are completely different. Mr. Coatsworth weaves a story that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the very last page. I enjoyed how it was based on a Welsh saint and corresponding legend. It was fascinating seeing the story in a completely different way…

Dwyn and Maelon are so good together. They have strong feelings for each other and watching them fall in love despite the odds stacked against them was lovely. You can tell they’re going to be happy together at the end of the book. It’s a sweet happily ever after because their love and relationship has weathered so much already and will stand the test of time.