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Valutazioni e recensioni del libro (3 4 classificazione a stelle
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    Fantastic world-building, dynamic and enthralling

    The Stark Divide is the type of book I never thought I'd read. I usually only read books with some type of romantic component. The romance doesn't have to be the center of the story but there must be a romance. Well, back in November 2017 J. Scott Coatsworth asked me if I'd review The Stark Divide for Xtreme Delusions. At the time I was just too busy to accept but he asked if I could do it in January and I said yes. I was really nervous to start reading the book because it's just not my usual kind of story. I'm a huge Star Trek fan, beginning with The Original Series which came out when I was around 12, but I've never read science fiction books and never really cared to. It's hard to say why I even said "yes" to Scott when asked to read The Stark Divide. I guess part of the reason is that I was a bit flattered that he wanted me to read it and was willing to wait until I had time in my schedule. I am SO glad that I said yes and convinced myself to start reading this book. I didn't have to read very far into the story to get hooked. The Stark Divide is broken into three parts with ten years between part one and two, and then 20 years between part two and three. Because I've never read this type of book before I'm not really sure how to review it. I'm one of those readers who has a hard time describing exactly what it is about a book that catches, and keeps, my attention. The Stark Divide was fascinating to me. Parts of it definitely remind me of Star Trek episodes, and the idea of creating a new world out of an existing "dead" planet is similar to one of the movies, but the complexity of the writing and the "world" that Scott has created are truly something. The Stark Divide contains a rich cast of diverse characters, both queer and straight, with creative names for the flora and fauna contained on the new world. Scott has thoughtfully provided a glossary of terms and names of people in the story but I actually had very little trouble keeping track of things and didn't refer to it much. I'm going to conclude by saying that the blurb describes the story accurately and much better than I ever could. I was kept on the figurative edge of my seat much of the time while reading this and had to force myself to put it down at 5 a.m. at one point so that I could be at least partially functional when meeting with friends later that day. At 87, 239 words it's longer than the books I normally read. It also took me a bit longer than normal to read it but I don't mean that in a bad way at all. I had to take more care when reading because I don't usually read science fiction, but, believe me, it was time well spent. The Stark Divide doesn't have a cliffhanger but the scene is set for more to come and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. An advanced copy of this book was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author. ***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***
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    Successfully ambitious epic diverse science fictio

    I would rate this 4.75 stars. First off, this was a really well done science fiction novel. I think if you buy into the ideas of: AI becoming a sentient autonomous being, bio mechanical technology becoming something that a human (or potentially AI) could be born with, and the idea of terraforming within a starship, then there is everything to enjoy and delight in within this book. The story carried me along and I went willingly. This book takes place over a thirty year span of time, skipping over the surface of three time periods. One of the reasons I think it is successful is because it was clever about contained world-building with a small cast for greater emotional impact. Each character is rounded out through flashbacks, memories, dialogue and actions enough so that the reader gets a sense of person. Because the joys and tragedies are shared, I became invested in each person and their wellbeing. Each location is described enough for the reader to picture it, without it being overwhelming or an info dump. During the first third of the book, the focus is on Colin, Jackson, and Ana, on a ship called the Dressler. This sets the stage for everything that is to come after. Colin is a hardworking, compassionate, competent captain who responds well to emergencies and tries to do his best for his crew. Jackson is the ship's engineer who is tested in ways he never imagined. Ana is the expert in ship genetics. It is she who created three seed ships to try and save humanity. In this way, they operate as the human heart, soul, and mind of the book. Saving Lex, the Dressler ship-mind, and allowing it to eat the asteroid Ariadne thus begins the creation of mankind’s first interstellar ship is their legacy. Ten years later, the second third of the book focuses on the new world-ship Ariadne, that is called Forever. Colin is now Director, Ana is on board after being released from prison, and Jackson is somewhere else entirely. Colin has ensured a diverse and inclusive settlement. The second and third seed worlds are underway, but the reader is left wondering about them. Jackson's son Aaron becomes the focus of this part of the story with his friends, Devon and Keera. The dangers of political and corporate espionage, and religious fantatical saboteurs are all getting worse as the wars on Earth continue to destroy the planet. Lex is also a danger as a mind grown without parents. Can anyone trust the world-mind? Who taught it right from wrong? This issue is addressed in a unique way. The third part of this story finally shows what Earth has become and highlights Eddie and Davian as they become refugees trying to reach Transfer Station and Forever. Colin is now retired, married to Trip, and has a berry farm, but is being called up to help with the refugees. Aaron is the new Director. There is now a generation of kids raised in space, who have never been on Earth. Aaron's daughter Andy has also grown up in the virtual reality of the world-mind. Some fear her power and very few people know the AIs have become their own autonomous personalities that think and feel. For me, the book shines in all the micro worlds: the ships, the settled part of Forever, the part still terraforming, the virtual reality of Lex's mind, the space station, the cave on Earth, the desperate flight of a small two man ship...the author has created great texture interweaving all of these parts together to make a complex whole. The book is psychologically interesting, philosophically challenging, biologically and technologically fascinating with enough details to picture the surroundings, without overwhelming the reader. This has the perfect amount of world-building for me. Even with all that, the human element is never forgotten; the characters are engaging and written about in a way that made me care about what happens to them. Although sad, it's realistic that some will want power and control. Being in the mind of someone like that is difficult, but I am pleased that the author added those viewpoints. While there are relationships of all varieties here, be aware this is science fiction rather than romance and all sex is fade to black. Many times, in answer to the vast majority of books being caucasian heteronormative, an author's response is to make everyone in their book be queer, or people of color, or some underrepresented group. In this case, the author chose to make everyone diverse, represented, and not just equal, but equitable as much as possible. For me, the book ends on both a sad and hopeful note and the future of humanity is in the stars.
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    An intriguing, thoughtful adventure

    Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over Book one of the science fiction series Liminal Sky introduces a fascinating world with a glimpse of ways science can work with nature to broaden our world. It reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama with one critical difference: human ingenuity creates this world ship with the assistance of AI ship-minds. The artificial intelligence gained by complex, mature ship-minds is not explained, or even really explored, but rather appears as an outgrowth humans did not intend nor do they understand. I like this take even if, in gaining sapience, the AIs develop more human characteristics and flaws than I consider plausible. It certainly works within the story. The book is in three separate parts, strung along the same timeline and providing a beginning, middle, and end to this portion of a complex tale. Each is self-contained while building on what came before and with people existing or directly tied to those in the previous sections. It makes reviewing a little harder because I don’t want to spoil anything and so can’t even use character names. I can say the first and last are more action adventure with a touch of philosophy while the second is more philosophy and psychology with a touch of action. These styles are relevant to the focus of each section and so equally compelling. It took me a little to get into the book because of some rough passages and the isolated introduction of all four main characters, including the AI. Once they started interacting, though, I came to know them better and make my own bonds with them. In the latter sections, the characters are introduced more naturally. Characters are one of this author’s strengths. The main characters are distinct and compelling, coming into the story with histories relevant to what happens, but also elements there only to give depth to the idea of each person. Having said the last, I was surprised to realize the early female characters, whether human or AI, behaved in what appeared to be stereotypical ways. The good news is when the issues introduced in the first part come together, it’s a nuanced, tear-inducing scene that transforms what touches on biased presentations into personal choices with consequences once again. My response to that scene and others shows, even with my reservations, I was engaged with all the characters. I will say since my favorite character is female, the problem I had with the early portrayals clearly did not extend through the whole book. It was amusing, though, to have a male character in the second part vocalize the very bias I’d identified. So for those who see the same markers I did, I counsel patience. The journey is worth it. As far as the technical aspects, I found the advances both plausible and well thought out. The AIs, despite developing too much humanity at times, had their own natures. I loved the various ways humans interfaced with the AIs and my favorite springs from the consequences of an illegal mod. The creative solutions, both tech and non-tech, to the various problems were fun to see being worked out even in those times when I’d already made the leap before the characters. The third piece is something I’ve touched on with the AI, but there is a strong element of philosophy and religion. Personhood, and whether human beliefs are broad enough to encompass divinity, are explored among other questions. This type of pondering is an interest of mine, and I enjoyed these characters’ thoughts. I sometimes found the characters a bit slow to recognize consequences or to explain things in such a way that would clear up some conflicts. However, I’ve already stated this as my interest so I’m probably more practiced than most, especially those, like the characters, who focused their careers on the more tangible aspects of life. It made me appreciate the characters more when they matured as the story developed. The book covers several big questions including those of a more tangible nature. This future Earth is the path we are currently on with climate change, political warmongering, and resource depletion all playing a role. As much as I want to say more about this aspect, I cannot without revealing parts from the later story. I’ll say only that there is a danger in tackling these kinds of issues without giving them enough space as the impressions left might be other than intended. I already have the next book in my queue and suspect some of the clarity I wanted will be dealt with there as the seeds of conflicts to come have already been sown. On a pure writing standpoint, the book does a good job of setting up what is to come. Sometimes, the red herrings are so complete that the real answer takes a moment to sink in despite also being plausible... See full review on Tales to Tide You Over

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