from the archives: Jay Lake, RIP

On 1 June 2014, Jay Lake died. Here’s what I wrote on my blog about it…..


Jay Lake has at last lost his long, hard-fought battle with cancer.

I have tons of memories of Jay, though I’m damned if I can remember when I first met him. It was at some convention or Nebula Awards ceremony or some other damn place. Actually, the most likely culprit is the first Norwescon I went to in 1999.

In any case, it was always a joy and a privilege to hang out with Jay, who was smart, funny, witty, crazy, opinionated, and always wore those ridiculous Hawai’ian shirts.

One of my fondest memories of Jay was from Noreascon in Boston in 2004. Jay and Laura Anne Gilman suggested to the con com “Two Beers and a Story,” whereby the two of them and three other v/i/c/t/i/m/s/ writers — myself, Janna Silverstein, and David Levine — wrote a story in the time in takes to drink two beers. (A referee told us to drink regularly, thus not allowing us to take too long…) The story I wrote for that, “Wild Bill Got Shot,” never got sold, but it’ll be in my collection Without a License later this year.

(Come to think of it, Jay was mostly responsible for another never-published story in Without a License, though that story was actually bought and paid for by Jay but the anthology never happened for reasons I wasn’t too clear on. “Behold a White Tricycle” was a story I wrote for Jay’s 44 Clowns: 11 Stories of the 4 Clowns of the Apocalypse, and it’ll be in the collection, too.)

Anyhow, every memory I have of being in Jay’s presence is a happy one, as he was one of the most fun people to be around. I also loved keeping up with him online, as his fierce honesty, humor, and bizarre combination of cynicism and optimism was always compelling reading. And his chronicling of his entire battle with cancer was magnificent, brutal, heartbreaking, amazing, riveting, revolting, and often overwhelming.

I will miss his sense of humor, his sense of wonder, his sense of silly, his daily linkdumps, his unapologietic liberalism, and yes, I’ll even miss those awful awful shirts.

Rest in peace, my friend.

1 thought on “from the archives: Jay Lake, RIP

  1. You know, I never met him until his wake. Sounds odd, I know. The year before he died, he had a wake at Cascade Writers’ Weekend. I guess he wanted to be around for it. But that weekend, I met him. Then again at the Worldcon in San Antonio, and one other place. He was a neat guy. I know he’s missed because you are not the only one talking about him. 🙂

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