Author ~ J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 17th February 2017
Genre ~ Science Fiction, M/M Romance
Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
An adventure into a futuristic universe is what we have here. 800 years in the future, Earth people have populated another planet. But, Oberon is split – literally. Visually, it is a half-sphere. So, what happened to the other half?
Two types of folk are named in this story. Earthbound are the Lander populous. Those who have wings are the Skythane people, who are a race overrun by the Landers’.
Xander – a skythane, can be a bit of a bastard. As a child, he was pulled from the gutters where he eventually did odd jobs for the Oberon establishment. His troubled past includes his lover Alix who went missing, and a period when another owned him. He’s grown up to be tough and streetwise.
Jameson is from Beta Tau, a planet where men are alpha, women keep house, and there’s no hanky-panky between same sexed people. He’s supposed to be on Oberon to conduct research into the lack of Pith – a multi-use pharmaceutical whose production has all but dried up. His guide is Xander.
When the two meet, it is a case of sheltered meets cocky assurance. When they have to escape from a black ops team, it becomes clear that something different is on the horizon.
Quince, another major character, is a lady who, years previous, was assigned a mission. She is also one of those people who gives details out as and when needed. There are no information dumps in this story. Data seeps out as the story develops or needs that extra twist.
Told in the third person, present tense, the technical aspects are excellent. I’m a reader who enjoys sci fi, but it’s not my majority reading. Therefore, it took a little time for me to become accustomed to the layout of the planets and the names for everything. All the same, I found it authenticated the world I was given. There were influences from Earth, but it had a uniqueness that was all futuristic. The author creates an impressive, intriguing image of the world and its inhabitants. I would have liked to see a higher heat rating (I felt a little cheated there) but it is possible that the lust factor would have distracted from the main storyline.
Skythane is a story of difficult pasts, inheritance, changing futures and coming to terms with merging the two. Oh, and the little nugget of saving the world. The characters must get over being plucked from one life and being thrown into another, with all the accompanying feelings of who to trust, and situational drama.
Like the planet, the book is a story of two halves, cleverly put together, with an interesting cast. It is an in-depth crafted story. It’s a slow build, where the drama increases the farther into the story one gets. The more I read, the more I was slowly submerged into a world I came to care about. Skythane wasn’t billed as a series, and the storyline does conclude. However, the detailed way the Oberon universe was put together, and a couple of subplot lines left open; I suspect a sequel is possible.
Meet J. Scott Coatsworth
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him "the only one stopping you from writing is you."
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories - some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.