Lake, Jay 1964-

views updated

Lake, Jay 1964-


Born 1964.


Home—Portland, OR. Office—P.O. Box 42611, Portland, OR 97242. E-mail—[email protected].




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.



Rocket Science, Fairwood Press (Auburn, WA), 2005.

Trial of Flowers, Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2006.

Mainspring, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.

Madness of Flowers, Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2007.

Escapement, Tor (New York, NY), 2008.


The River Knows Its Own, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2000.

Greetings from Lake Wu (short stories), illustrated by Frank Wu, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2003.

Green Grow the Rushes-Oh, Fairwood Press (Auburn, WA), 2004.

American Sorrows, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2004.

Dogs in the Moonlight (short stories), Prime Books (Holicong, PA), 2004.


(With Deborah Layne) Polyphony 1, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2002.

(With Deborah Layne) Polyphony 2, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2003.

(With David Moles) All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2004.

(With Deborah Layne) Polyphony 4, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2004.

TEL: Stories, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2005.

(With Deborah Layne) Polyphony 5, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2005.

(With Deborah Layne) Polyphony 6, Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2006.


Contributor to books and anthologies, including The Thackeray T. Lambshead Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, Tor (New York, NY), 2004; Leviathan 4, Ministry of Whimsy Press, 2004; The Best of Strange Horizons: Year 2, Lethe Press, 2004; The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Volume 15, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2004; Fantasy: The Best of 2004, iBooks, 2005; Subterranean 3, Subterranean Press, 2006; and Visual Journeys: A Tribute to Space Artists, Hadley Rille Books, 2007. 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. A number of Lake's short works have been translated into other languages, including Greek, Polish, and Swedish.


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 the SF Site Web site, "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."

Lake's other offerings include several volumes of short fiction as well as additional novels. Dogs in the Moonlight, his second collection, garnered critical praise. While not precisely linked, the fantasy stories share their setting in that they take place in Texas, and revolve primarily around characters who are down on their luck, facing the ends of their marriages, unemployment, or problems with alcohol. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "these beautifully written stories feature strong characters, a well-delineated sense of place and a powerfully skewed vision of the world."

Trial of Flowers, Lake's next novel following Rocket Science, is the first volume of an anticipated contemporary fantasy series that focuses on the City Imperishable. In this book, the city's leader has mysteriously disappeared, and Jason the Factor, who is his apprentice, finds himself attempting to take on the mantle of leadership for which he is ill prepared, particularly in the face of an enemy threatening the city from outside and a potential revolt within the city itself. Carl Hays, in a review for Booklist, remarked that "masterfully atmospheric prose, littered with odd and endearing minutiae, sustains unforgettable characters."

Mainspring takes place in a nineteenth century world that Lake has imagined as designed based on the workings of a clock, entirely fashioned and wound by God. However, when it becomes necessary to rewind the mechanism, the Archangel Gabriel sets the task of finding the key to a mortal: Hethor Jacques, a clockmaker's apprentice. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that "Lake demonstrates his enormously fertile imagination in this unusual book, marred only by some sluggish pacing." Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada dubbed the book "an original and intriguing vision of an alternate Earth during its period of Enlightenment."



Booklist, August, 2005, Ray Olson, review of Rocket Science, p. 2007; November 1, 2006, Carl Hays, review of Trial of Flowers, p. 36.

Library Journal, August 1, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of Rocket Science, p. 75; April 15, 2007, Jackie Cassada, review of Mainspring, p. 78.

Publishers Weekly, February 14, 2005, review of Dogs in the Moonlight, p. 58; March 19, 2007, review of Mainspring, p. 47.


Jay Lake Home Page, (November 23, 2005)., (November 23, 2005), Paul Di Filippo, review of Rocket Science.

SF Site, (November 23, 2005), Matthew Hughes, review of Rocket Science.

About this article

Lake, Jay 1964-

Updated About content Print Article


Lake, Jay 1964-