Friday, January 11, 2013

Sequence a Science Fiction Writer - a fund drive for Jay Lake

As I type this, the fund drive for Jay Lake's cancer treatment has already exceeded it's initial goal of $20,000.00. Why do I bother to post then? Because that was the bare minimum needed to get Jay's tumor genetically sequenced. This will enable doctors to better target this next round of chemotherapy in one last desperate bid to kill the cancer and save Jay. It's still worth donating because Jay will have a lot of expenses over and above this as he continues his battle with cancer.

Unfortunately, the prognosis isn't good, at all. He's got an 8% chance of survival, and while this treatment might increase the odds, it is still experimental. So money towards this treatment, even if it doesn't save Jay, will further our understanding of cancer treatment and thus improve it in the future.

I don't remember the first time I met Jay Lake. He and I crossed paths at cons many times, though I do remember the year that he announced he'd go for the Campbell Award - which is the award for the best new science fiction author. You are only eligible for this award in the two years after your first professional sale, so it's a tough one to get. Jay's strategy was to write short stories by the truckload and submit them everywhere. At the beginning of this endeavor, I confess I overheard a lot of nay-sayers talking about how absurd this was and that he was clogging up the major markets' slush piles with his endless verbiage. By the time awards season rolled around, "Anyone thinking above their brain stem," as Daniel Abraham put it, would vote for Jay Lake. His intensive writing had gone to plan exactly, and he did win the Campbell Award. He and Frank Wu commemorated the event (Frank also won a Hugo that year) by flipping their long hair.

Right now Jay's got a tattoo on his scalp that says, "If you can read this, I've got cancer again" (or something to this effect). Unfortunately, it's easy to read the text, and his signature beard is gone too. Some filmmakers are making a documentary about a year in Jay's life, and the Kickstarter campaign for this is also funded in full.

The video, however, gives you a little glimpse into Jay's life. Please help support Jay by donating a few dollars to the fundraiser to cover his cancer treatment. He's got a fourteen year old daughter to raise and more books to write. Nobody's read for this to be the end of his time here with us.

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