"Coffins are hot and dark on the inside"
July 29, 2013 1:38 AM   Subscribe

Science fiction and fantasy writer/editor Jay Lake has been living with cancer for years, but in early May received notice that unfortunately he wouldn't do so for much longer (diagnostic details), with the most optimistic forecast giving him just a year left to live. If nothing else, this has given him time to wind up his affairs, as well as do something few people get the chance to: attend his own wake.
posted by MartinWisse (12 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Mark Twain would be proud.
Here's an early gesture: .
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:47 AM on July 29, 2013

posted by cthuljew at 1:54 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just read my first Jay Lake story yesterday - his novelette, The Weight Of History, The Lightness Of The Future. At first, I was like, meh, this is a bit exposition-heavy.

An hour later I was shrugging away my wife's attempts to prise me from the book. Gripping, page-turning, fun stuff. It's available to read free, online.

Very sad to hear of his nasty prognosis, and very impressed at the bravery and humour with which he is facing it all.

posted by RokkitNite at 2:20 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some relatively good news here: Sometimes the news isn't all about Armageddon

The doctor characterized me as being an outlier, or even outlier to the outliers. My survival time is reaching unusual lengths. They felt like I could look forward to another nine to eighteen months of life, given the drug performance. That is sufficient time to possibly survive long enough to see next-generation treatments become available.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:28 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

He's also the subject of a documentary, Lakeside, which just finished filming.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:05 AM on July 29, 2013

Thanks for the link. Will read the book.

You know, he's just like the rest of us, but has a little more definition on his exit date. Sometimes, I think we'd be well advised to act like our time is almost up (it is, after all), and be pleasantly surprised if we're proven wrong.

I do hope he is proven wrong, just because. A good attitude like this is worth spreading around some.
posted by FauxScot at 4:20 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

If nothing else, this has given him time to wind up his affairs

I'm so sorry about his impending death and so glad about this part because planning and organizing and tidying can be such a source of comfort in a maelstrom of awfulness.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:06 AM on July 29, 2013

Oh wow, I've really admired Lake since serendipitously encountering his story, "Clown Eggs," somewhere (I had thought the Cafe Irreal, but maybe not?). It was surreal and frightening and imaginative enough to make me interested in the mind it came from. When a collection, Greetings from Lake Wu, popped up, I was delighted. Looking at his bibliography now, Lake has been intimidatingly prolific. I have a lot to catch up on.

I'm glad he has time to prepare. As someone who will probably never be a "writer" in the sense that he is, but who nonetheless very quietly and infrequently tosses out strange, scary little things for publication, he's been a significant influence on me because of how outrageous his ideas are and because I've watched him grow from "that guy who wrote those really weird stories" to "Science fiction and fantasy writer/editor Jay Lake," which is an even odder feeling.

I'm glad he's doing something so weird and human and good spirited with this.
posted by byanyothername at 9:26 AM on July 29, 2013

I have never heard of this man before but he is clearly a pretty amazing individual. I will have to check out his books.

And you know, I love the idea of a pre-death wake and wish they were more common. At my father's funeral there were so many people from his past who unexpectedly showed up and I found myself thinking, "Oh, it's XX! Dad would be so touched that he came."
posted by something something at 9:34 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure the first Jay Lake I read was City of Flowers, followed shortly by his short story "The Clown God is Near," which was in the Vandermeers' first Steampunk anthology. Both of which are pretty dark and a great blend of urban fantasy and horror which I loved. In fact, I think I first came across the term Urban fantasy because of the great anthology he did with Metafilter's own Jscalzi called METAtropolis. As I read more and more of his stuff, I was happen to find that he has this great range in his writing, but without writing like anyone other than himself: he's got some straight up horror, Dogs in the Moonlight's a good collection of that; golden age scifi, Death of a Starship (my favorite piece of his writing); Steampunk that ALMOST could be YA with the Clockwork Earth series (which is what that picture for the Jay Wake is all about); and it seems like every time I see his work in a themed anthology, it's always this unique take on the theme, it always fits, but it always comes at it from an unexpected angle.

Also, I love this bit from the invitation to the Jay Wake:
Be warned: the jokes and stories contained herein will not only push the boundaries of good taste, they will leapfrog over the boundaries blowing a raspberry. This is not a time to say how Jay touched your life. This is a time to say how Jay touched you inappropriately.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:40 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Jay Wake sounds like an awesome event. And man, that T-shirt is really tops. I don't even know the dude and I kind of want one.

Godspeed, dude. I hope you get as much time as possible to get stuff done and that the going is painless.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:28 PM on July 29, 2013

Er, that should be Trial of Flowers, it's in the City Imperishable series.
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:55 PM on July 30, 2013

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