ADDRESSES: Home—Portland, OR. Office—P.O. Box 42611, Portland, OR 97242. E-mail—[email protected]
AWARDS, HONORS: First place, L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest, 2003; John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, 2004; Hugo Award nomination for best novella, 2004, for "Into the Gardens of Sweet Night"; World Fantasy Award nomination for best nonprofessional editor (with Deborah Layne), 2004.
(Editor, with Deborah Layne) Polyphony 1, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2002.
(Editor, with Deborah Layne) Polyphony 2, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2003.
Greetings from Lake Wu, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2003.
(Editor, with David Moles) All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2004.
(Editor, with Deborah Layne) Polyphony 4, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2004.
Green Grow the Rushes-Oh, Fairwood Press (Auburn, WA), 2004.
American Sorrows, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2004.
Dogs in the Moonlight, Prime Books (Holicong, PA), 2004.
Rocket Science, Fairwood Press (Auburn, WA), 2005.
(Editor) TEL: Stories, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2005.
(Editor, with Deborah Layne) Polyphony 5, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2005.
Contributor to books and anthologies, including The Thackeray T. Lambshead Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, Tor, 2004; Leviathan 4, Ministry of Whimsy Press, 2004; The Best of Strange Horizons: Year 2, Lethe Press, 2004; Fantasy: The Best of 2004, iBooks, 2005; and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 15, Carroll & Graf. Contributor to periodicals, including Realms of Fantasy, Irregular Quarterly, Ideomancer, Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Continuum SF, Fortean Bureau, Chiaroscuro, Apex & Abyss, Descant, Full Unit Hookup, Aeon, and Interzone, and to online publications, including Internet Review of Science Fiction.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Editing Spicy Slipstream Stories, with Nick Mamatas, for Wheatland Press; Trial of Flowers, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Reflecting the influence of cyberpunk on science fiction, a reactionary group of writers, including Jay Lake, has in more recent years been composing sci-fi adventures that hearken back to the so-called Golden Age of science fiction that occurred during the 1940s and 1950s. Lake is the author of Rocket Science and the winner of the 2004 John W. Campbell Award for best new writer; he has been praised by critics as a talented author who respects the way science fiction used to be written, while adding his own unique style to his stories.
Rocket Science is an adventurous tale set shortly after the end of World War II. The main character is Vernon Dunham, who remained stateside during the war and worked for the aeronautics manufacturer Boeing because his polio had made him ineligible for enlistment. When his friend Floyd Bellamy returns home a war hero and a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Vernon is jealous. This issue is soon put aside, however, when Floyd tells Vernon of his discovery of a highly advanced airplane he has managed to bring home. Floyd believes it to be a Nazi experimental craft, and he enlists Vernon's engineering skills to help him learn about it. But the craft proves to be of extraterrestrial origin; not only that, it is sentient and can communicate with humans. Vernon quickly finds himself the target of several groups that want the alien spacecraft, including government agents, Nazis, the Chicago mob, bootleggers, the U.S. Army, and the local sheriff. "And from there on," remarked Matthew Hughes on SFSite.com, "the plot thickens, and tastily."
Critics praised Rocket Science as an old-fashioned tale of good guys verses bad guys, comparing it to the works of such authors as Isaac Asimov and Clifford D. Simak. Jackie Cassada asserted in a Library Journal review that the author "presents a fast-moving, quirky sf adventure as fresh and entertaining as its two heroes." Booklist contributor Ray Olson described it as "a real tour-de-force by a top-flight talent." "If there is a 'new old wave' of science fiction writing," concluded Hughes, "those at the crest had better make room for an American named Jay Lake."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2005, Ray Olson, review of Rocket Science, p. 2007.
Library Journal, August 1, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of Rocket Science, p. 75.
Jay Lake Home Page, http://www.jlake.com (November 23, 2005).
SciFi.com, http://www.scifi.com/ (November 23, 2005), Paul Di Filippo, review of Rocket Science.
SF Site, http://www.sfsite.com/ (November 23, 2005), Matthew Hughes, review of Rocket Science.