Jay Lake: Writer

Contact Me Home
>

Our Lady of the Islands

Our Lady of the Islands
by Jay Lake and Shannon Page

This satisfying feminist tale­ set in an under-explored corner of Lake’s lush, mythical Green universe (Green, etc.) but entirely accessible to new readers ­features an empathetic middle-aged, middle-class protagonist managing the roles of businesswoman, mother and grandmother, fugitive, and unwilling savior with realism and grace. Clothing merchant Sian Kattë is assaulted by the charismatic rogue priest of the Butchered God, an encounter that grants her the unwanted power to heal by touch. Sian and her new abilities are misunderstood by her husband, lover, and daughter. She is hunted by the Mishrah-Khote physician-priests, who believe only men can be healers and accuse her of fraud, and manipulated by politically-minded relatives who insist that she stay away from both the public and her distant cousin’s dying son. Undaunted, Sian pursues her divine mission and encounters unexpected help from a woman in disguise; together they turn the second half of the book into a celebration of female friendship and cooperation. Page (Eastlick and other Stories) has done a phenomenal job of completing Lake’s work after his death, honoring his contributions and vision while giving the novel an emotionally authentic, coherent voice.

Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Maass Agency. (Dec.)

http://publishersweekly.com/978-1-941662-06-9

Tags:

Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection.

http://publishersweekly.com/pw/reviews/single/978-0-7653-7798-2

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection by Jay Lake

The prolific Lake’s death in 2014, after a long, harrowing, and very public battle with cancer, gives extra weight to these 32 epitaphs. Lake’s command of language is strong and sincere, and his stories of everyday heartaches, filled with secret fears and self-delusion, whisk readers from inner geographies of mind to limitless gulfs of space. Lake’s characters emotionally embody the doomed heroism of Nordic gods sneering at grim fates, finding bittersweet redemption in dark byways of human ignorance. Reality is shattered when an alien controls a hardened mercenary’s dreams in the darkly romantic “Last Plane to Heaven: A Love Story.” Cynical humor greets oblivion in “The Speed of Time.” In surprisingly intelligent space opera (“Permanent Fatal Errors”) and a visit to the City Imperishable (“Promises”), revelations eschew oversentimentality for moral complexity. “Such Bright and Risen Madness in Our Names” injects pathos into the Cthulhu mythos, questioning identity and raising hackles. Malevolent faeries face metaphysical annihilation in a dying young woman’s cancer cells in “Her Fingers Like Whips, Her Eyes Like Razors.” And in “The Cancer Catechism,” Lake discovers faith in the inevitability of death. As he states, “In the end, words are all that survive us”; his fans and friends may find some comfort in the hope that his words will live on forever. (Sept.)


Lake, Jay. Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection. Tor. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780765377982. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466858473. SF

Tags:

[books|publishing] Cover Reveal for Last Plane to Heaven

Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

Read all about it at tor.com.


Cover design by Peter Lutjen, image © 2014 Tor Books.

Tags: , , ,

[books|writing] The January Machine

Back in the 1990s, I wrote my first attempt at a novel. It was called The January Machine. I quote the opening paragraphs of the synopsis I retrofitted some years later…

The year is 2041. Global warming has arrived with a vengeance. Ocean levels are rising, temperature extremes are off the scale, and loss of the ozone layer is destroying entire ecosystems. The United States has fractured under green and Third World backlash, with multiple secessions and a major West Coast earthquake complicating recovery. Meanwhile a prosperous, fascist Poland has risen to world dominance on the ruins of the European Union.

In this setting, human-grade AIs are relatively common, although their application is heavily regulated. In response to draconian AI-control measures, a shadowy AI underground known as the “goldens” seeks civil rights. In addition, time travel, while not possible in 2041, figures into the story from the perspective of the world’s future.

Marcus Sharpton, affiliated with the goldens, stumbles on stolen Polish military data — control codes for the January Machine. The January Machine was a Soviet doomsday project, consisting of several hundred nuclear warheads lining a Mohole, or deep crustal excavation, near a Siberian tectonic plate boundary. When activated, it would create a mega-volcano several hundred times more powerful than the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa, plunging Earth into a long-term nuclear winter, where superior Soviet arctic warfare capabilities would ensure their military dominance.

I was trying to write a science fiction thriller. I had a lot of fun with it. Frankly, The January Machine is a terrible book from a craft perspective, but there’s a lot of neat ideas and some cool tropes in there, and it’s recognizably a Jay Lake book.

Mother of the Child has been asking for a while if she can have a printed, bound copy of the manuscript so she can re-read the book. My friend SC offered to do the layout and get the project through a print-on-demand vendor. Thus, I give you The January Machine:

image

As I’m trying to pull together a fund-raiser to help defray the substantial travel and lodging costs associated with my NIH clinical trial, I’m considering putting a few copies of the book in as premiums. I have some to spare, as the POD minimum order requirements were larger than my immediate needs.

It’s kind of fun to see that first effort from the mid-1990s have a print life, even one so small and odd.


Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Tags: , , , , ,

[books] A new sale to Tor

I am pleased to announce that editor Beth Meacham of Tor Books has acquired my collection Last Plane to Heaven, via my agent Jennifer Jackson. Given the state of my health, this will almost certainly be my last trade collection of short fiction.

As I can no longer write due to my cancer treatments, the collection is entirely composed of reprints of recent work. Last Plane to Heaven is scheduled for release in the fall of 2014.

Tags: , , , ,

[books|writing] Alembical is on sale

A few years ago, I was part of a project edited by the inestimable Lawrence Schoen, a/k/a [info]klingonguy. This little gem was Alembical, from Paper Golem Press, an anthology of novellas.

As it happens, one of my very favorite pieces of my own work, “America, Such as She Is”, was printed in the first volume of Alembical. It’s an alternate history novella about a repatriated prisoner of war wandering through Japanese-occupied Oregon in 1946, looking for the last unsurrendered American general, Leslie Groves, who’s hiding somewhere in the Pacific Northwest forests still trying to make the atomic bomb. I did some craft tricks in that novella, both with structure and point of view, that I still don’t understand. I love this piece.

It’s also never been reprinted.

Lawrence has recently discovered a limited amount of additional stock of Alembical and is offering it at a discount. In addition to “America, Such as She Is”, you get fine work from Bruce Taylor, Jim Van Pelt, and Ray Vukcevich. Check it out. My birthday’s coming up, so buy yourself a present.

Tags: , ,

[books|repost] Kalimpura reading March 8th, 2013

I’ll be reading from KalimpuraPowell's | BN ] tonight, Friday, March 8th, at the Powell’s Cedar Hills location. This will be my one and only formal public event for the book due to my continued battle with cancer.

As is usual, I’ll have an open dinner from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, at McMenamins Cedar Hills, at the north end of the same retail complex Powell’s is in. If you’re planning to come to the dinner, please do let me know in comments or via email so I can include you in the headcount.

Due to chemotherapy, I’ve cancelled all my other convention and workshop appearances through this summer (at least), so if you want to see me on the hoof and Hawaiian clad, this is your only chance. Due to the reduced chemotherapy prescription I’m embarking on, this will be the first of a small series of public events and appearances I’ll be doing this spring, and into the summer if my health holds up. Hope to see you there.

Tags: , , , ,

[books|repost] Kalimpura reading March 8th, 2013

Health permitting, I’ll be reading from KalimpuraPowell's | BN ] on Friday, March 8th, at the Powell’s Cedar Hills location. This will be my one and only formal public event for the book due to my continued battle with cancer.

As is usual, I’ll have an open dinner from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, at McMenamins Cedar Hills, at the north end of the same retail complex Powell’s is in. If you’re planning to come to the dinner, please do let me know in comments or via email so I can include you in the headcount.

Due to chemotherapy, I’ve cancelled all my other convention and workshop appearances through this summer (at least), so if you want to see me on the hoof and Hawaiian clad, this is your only chance. Due to the reduced chemotherapy prescription I’m embarking on, this will be the first of a small series of public events and appearances I’ll be doing this spring, and into the summer if my health holds up. Hope to see you there.

Tags: , , , ,

[books] Kalimpura reading

Health permitting, I’ll be reading from KalimpuraPowell's | BN ] on Friday, March 8th, at the Powell’s Cedar Hills location. This will be my one and only formal public event for the book due to my continued battle with cancer.

As is usual, I’ll have an open dinner from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, at McMenamins Cedar Hills, at the north end of the same retail complex Powell’s is in. If you’re planning to come to the dinner, please do let me know in comments or via email so I can include you in the headcount.

Due to chemotherapy, I’ve cancelled all my other convention and workshop appearances through this summer (at least), so if you want to see me on the hoof and Hawaiian clad, this is your only chance. Hope to see you there.

Tags: , , ,

[books] The Hydrogen Sonata

I finally finished reading Iain M. Banks’ newest Culture novel, The Hydrogen SonataPowells | BN ]. (The long delays in my reading were related to my health issues, not the quality if the book.) In three words, I loved it.

This is a typical Culture novel, if that phrase even makes any sense — a 500-page brick of a hardback release dense with the meaty, unapologetic heavy iron space opera that Banks does so very well. This stuff tickles my brain hard and makes me very happy to read, lengthy infodumps and long asides and all.

Like many of Banks’ books, the central plot is interwoven with dozens of side plots, tangential events, and sometimes things that seem sheerly and gloriously random. This is not tight prose, and it is not casual reading. What it is, is smart as hell and a great deal of fun. Even if you’ve never read a Culture book before, it will make sense. It will make more sense if you have, of course.

After I finished The Hydrogen Sonata last night, I spent some time thinking about what the book did and what it meant. One of the basic critical questions about any story is “whose story is this”? Ie, “who changes or is changed most by events”. In an odd way, The Hydrogen Sonata fails this test. Or more to the point, declines to be measured by this test in the first place. I mean, we have 500 pages of culture clash, space battles, the disappearance of an entire species, the machinations of the galaxy’s oldest person, love, sex, betrayal, and of course, the Hydrogen Sonata itself. Yet at the end, with one or two exceptions, every major character more or less winds up where you might have expected them to from the beginning. (Except for those who got killed along the way.) Even Vyr Cossont, the nominal protagonist, seems to have the gentlest of epiphanies, albeit her journey to that point is very challenging.

And I think this is the point of The Hydrogen Sonata, inasmuch as it has one: the journey is the tale, not the destination. It’s a heck of a journey, and I loved it. Delightfully dense, thoughtful, intellectually challenging stuff that’s also a heck of a ride.

Tags:

« Older Posts |