“Cosmic” and “intense” are just two of the words that come to mind after reading Paul Jessup‘s Open Your Eyes. Wasting absolutely no time, the story opens with a woman named Ekhi and her lover, a star about to go supernova in the last gasp of their last union, and it goes at warp speed from there. Jessup immediately sets the scene for a story that you will not want to put down.
The style is prose that, unlike much of contemporary science fiction, is intelligent and visually dynamic. I could see the bones of the space ship, see the butterflies in the cage that made up half of Mari’s face, and feel the crackling skin of the centuries old captain Itsasu. Each character has his or her own motivations for being on the scavenger ship. If Ekhi’s case, she was rescued after her lover went super nova, but there was one thing none of them suspected, that the Heart of the ship had its own plans. Beware a space ship that has a mind of its own.
Darkly imaginative, this space opera grabs your attention from the sensual opening scene to the last pages where all hope seems lost. From a beating heart to the love child of a cosmic coupling, the novella is a compelling read. Reminiscent of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, the idea of language as a virus is more compelling and without the complicated ins and outs of Stephenson’s work. It really seems more poignant that the characters don’t know how or why it worked, and neither does the reader. The dread builds up as the inevitablity of infection looms over the scavenger ship’s crew.
While it is the fourth in a novella series being put out by Apex Book Company, it can be read alone. It is available through pre-order now and will be released April 16th 2009. Open You Eyes isn’t your typical sci fi; it’s better. Any fan of science fiction would thoroughly enjoy this treat, and if you’re a fan of the dark and the surreal, why haven’t you preordered it yet?