The Sky That Wraps
by Jay Lake
Cover Artist: Aurélien Police
Review by Steve Sawicki
Subterranean Press Deluxe Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596062665
Date: August 31, 2010 / Show Official Info /
Jay Lake has been writing short fiction for quite some time now and has over 250 pieces to his credit. This is no mean feat, given that the short story market has been shrinking which makes competition all that much greater coupled with the meager pay one gets for short fiction. This collection is put together by Lake himself which is another unusual situation as most anthologies are selected by the publisher or through some theme or notion. So, it is an extra special treat to get an anthology that is: large, selected by the author, and contains introductions to each piece that explain how the piece was written.
It should be noted that Lake is not easy to categorize, or to be more exact, that his fiction is not easy to slot into pigeon holes. He writes science fiction and fantasy for sure but there is also a middle ground where he almost touches magic realism/surrealism. In fact, a lot of his fiction contains this sense that reality is not quite what one is comfortable with. The twenty four stories that make up this anthology fall along a somewhat indistinct line of genre. It should also be noted that two of the stories contained within, "Coming for Green" and "To Their Late Escape", are brand new. "Coming for Green" plays off his novel Green and a few of the stories are also set within his Mainspring and Trial of Flowers universes.
If I say one true thing about this anthology it is that everyone who reads it will find one story they love and one story they hate. The rest will fall towards one end or the other depending on personal taste and interest.
Jay Lake is a minimalist in many senses of the word. You won't find long chunks of expository here, rather Lake depends on your bringing your intelligence to the dance between writer and reader. So, I suppose that is another true thing. If you are not willing to put in a little work you probably won't enjoy this selection of outstanding tales much, or, at the very best, end up confused and wondering.
I recommend this anthology highly. If you have read Lake before then you will definitely enjoy this work. If you have never read Lake then this would be a good starting point.