Can you even fathom what depths of depraved humor it takes to plan your own wake-cum-roast, and then invite the entire world to it?
Jay Lake has done precisely that. His cancer has given him the two-minute warning to end all warnings. Many would sit in a corner and cry. Most would stare blankly at walls. But Jay keeps fighting, knowing the end is in sight and working to stave it off, and he planned a gift for the thousands and thousands whose lives he’s enriched: A party. A chance to say goodbye before the ears you want to hear the words go deaf. He called it JayWake.

In Jay’s blog post about JayWake, the photos show the Man of the Hour smiling, laughing, misting up, and generally being vibrantly present in the moment, from beginning to end.

Jay has touched my life in the most positive of ways. Since I discovered his fiction, I’ve been a fan. He has never let me down, never taken a lazy shortcut, never left a thread a-dangle that needed tidying up. His novels have made me smile and sniffle and nod with pseudo-intellectual pursings of the lips. I started with his first novel, Rocket Science, purchased at ArmadilloCon in 2006. I haven’t looked back since, eating up the novels as they appear. It’s been a delicious feast.

As my pale attempt at a thank you to Jay for the many hours of pleasure his writing has given me, I’ve been posting weekly novel reviews on Shelf Inflicted, a group blog I contribute to. It’s not like I’m any great force in the world, but I know sometimes people don’t see what’s not shoved in front of them, so here’s me doing what shoving I can. Five reviews posted, five chances to shout in the world’s ear so that Jay knows before he goes what his books have meant to this fan: I want to share each of them with everyone! Enjoy them and, please, say so in writing…no author hates to hear appreciative comments.

I say my thanks as publicly as I can. My reviews have to do, since I couldn’t travel to Portland and shove my stranger’s face into his. Jay Lake, I salute and thank you. Live well! Your example mattered to me, and to so many others.

Richard Derus is a biblioholic and a passionate reader. From underneath his tottering towers of unread tomes, he writes obsessively about his darlings at Shelf Inflicted (a group blog), Goodreads (where he is a Forbes 25 top reviewer), LibraryThing (where his personal library is comprehensively cataloged), and Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud, where many otherwise unknown books are praised, panned, or poked fun at. He lives and loves on Long Island with his bossy Jindo, Stella.

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