The Shoreless Sea

J. Scott Coatsworth. DSP, $19.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-64108-149-8
The choppy conclusion to Coatsworth’s intergenerational space opera (after The Rising Tide) portrays the telepathic Liminals exploring themes rehashed from prior installments—psychic enslavement, ghostly ancestors, and shared memory’s power to heal—in three connected novellas. Trouble erupts on the living generation ship Forever when Kiryn Hammond-Clarke, a deaf college student, and his sister, Belynn, display Liminal powers that make them targets of the intifada: black-cloaked, body-snatching cultists fleeing their own ruined virtual Earth. After Forever’s leader, Lilith, attempts to overthrow the ship’s governing world mind, the siblings launch a mission to destroy Lilith, save the virtual inthworld, and break the cycles that Forever is trapped within. Coatsworth includes a number of minority and marginalized characters, but their characterization is uneven: Kiryn’s deafness is explored thoughtfully, and there’s a rich variety of LGBTQ characters, but Belynn’s alcoholism and the persecution of Liminals are mired in stereotype. Long-awaited plot elements surface and disappear, and worldbuilding feels cursory. As the characters vacillate between ineffectual and arbitrarily powerful, their repetitive struggles and failure to grow undermine the sincere message of cycle-breaking and the atmosphere of earnest futurism. Only dedicated series fans will see this one through. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/12/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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