Close Your Eyes

Paul Jessup. Apex, $15.95 trade paper (230p) ISBN 978-1-937009-69-4
Jessup merges his 2009 space opera Open Your Eyes and its darker sequel into this volume, a haunting tale that feels both etherial and futuristic. Ekhi’s lover was a star and went nova, Mari is a cheerful woman with a face partly made of caged butterflies, and Itsasu is the immobile captain of their starship. In the first part of the story, they’re haphazardly thrown together on a scavenger mission, and readers are brought straight into the action with little explanation. Just as the story starts to feel comfortable, it changes, as the AI system in the ship—its heart—takes over to complete a sinister research project. In the second half, readers learn the fate of Itsasu and the others, who have wound up on a labyrinthine moon where they’re experimented on by sentient dolls. Jessup’s imagination is magnificent, and though the descriptions and narration are overwrought, this is part of the fun of this story, which takes readers to a stratospheric emotional level as well as into deep space. The major flaw is the absence of well-developed relationships between the characters, which would have made the emotional intensity more justifiable, but the novel still has plenty of chilling, haunting moments. Fans of Open Your Eyes will be very pleased with how Jessup has concluded his unearthly tale. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
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