Remembering Jay Lake, 1964-2014

We are extremely saddened to report that Jay Lake has passed away at the age of 49, after a long battle with colon cancer. Lake was born in Taiwan on June 6, 1964, and was raised there and in Nigeria. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1986. He began writing early in life, and he published over 300 short stories and nine novels, with more forthcoming. Lake set his tales in a variety of different universes, and his most recent series, taking place in the world of Green, saw the release of its latest installment, Kalimpura, in 2013. Lake was also working on novels set in the Sunspin Universe, the first of which is called Calamity of So Long a Life—stories set in this universe have previously appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Subterranean Online, and elsewhere.

Among Lake’s numerous honors were a quarterly first prize in the Writers of the Future contest in 2003 and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction in 2004. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Interzone, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. He was an editor for the “Polyphony” anthology series from Wheatland Press, and was also a contributor to the Internet Review of Science Fiction. Lake’s final collection, The Last Plane to Heaven, an anthology featuring thirty of his short stories, will be available September 2014.

In addition to writing, Lake worked as a product manager for a voice services company while living with his family in Portland, Oregon. He was also the subject of a documentary called Lakeside – A Year With Jay Lake, which follows Lake’s fight against cancer, and had a special screening at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio in 2013. The film is currently in post-production with a release scheduled for 2014. Lake approached his illness with the same fierce determination as he did his writing career, blogging about the experience, and finding ways to express what was happening to him with humor and courage, in order to demystify the experience for others. As his health worsened, his partner Lisa continued the blog, posting regular updates on his treatment; our thoughts go out to her, and to his family.

Lake has long been a beloved member of the Tor family; we join with the legions of friends, fans, supporters, and well-wishers in the SFF community and beyond who mourn his passing today. We will miss him terribly, but take comfort in the fact that Jay’s humor, wit,  intelligence, indomitable spirit and vitality will live on in the worlds he created and in the courage and the hope he’s given to others over the course of his long struggle.


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