I’ve realized that over the past couple of months I have read two Jay Lake novels, as well as an anthology he edited, so I figured I’d review them all at once.
TEL: Stories edited by Jay Lake [4/5]
TEL: Stories is an anthology edited by Jay Lake that’s “dedicated to the idea that great style makes great literature,” and it’s not your usual spec fic anthology. These are stories that push up against edges, each in its own way, and even though there were stories I didn’t particularly like, I never found any of them boring. The highlight of the book is probably Greer Gilman’s fantastic “Jack Daw’s Pack,” but there’s also some great work by Jetse de Vries, Darja Malcolm-Clarke, Lawrence M. Schoen, Forrest Aguirre, Jeff VanderMeer and Gregory Feeley. Recommended if you like your short spec fic outside the mainstream.
Rocket Science by Jay Lake [4.5/5]
This is Jay’s first (but certainly not last) published novel, and it’s damned good. It’s a classic, Golden Age SF sort of story, with a flying saucer that ends up in post-WWII Kansas, where it’s chased after by Nazi spies, Communist spies, and the U.S. Army too. What more could you ask for? Well, how about a fast-paced plot, lots of period color, and plenty of odd characters. I highly recommend this one.
Last but not least, I had the chance to read a draft of Jay’s “Death of a Starship,” which he talked about writing over on his LJ (look back through the October archives). While I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending, it’s still a great SF novel, with excellent characters who all grow in one way or another by the conclusion of the story, a wonderfully drawn universe, and a plot that moves along without a lot of the wandering that sometimes makes up a good chunk of similar books. Of course, that last one might also be somewhat of a weakness, as meant the whole thing was rather short. I’ll be hoping it finds a home before too long, so you can all have a chance to read it.