lake-lastplanetoheavenLast Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection by Jay Lake

VERDICT: Perhaps inevitably this collection has a sense of yearning to it: a desire for escape, a wish for broken things to be fixed, a longing for more time. Here both literal and metaphoric narratives deal with Lake’s struggles with terminal cancer, but readers will enjoy plenty of adventure and pure flights of fancy as well.

Lake (1964-­2014) was a well-known author of sf and fantasy novels (Green; Mainspring), but he was also a prolific short story writer. This final collection shows the range of styles that Lake was comfortable with and showcases his clever way with words. There are pieces from the worlds he created in his novels, including “From the Countries of Her Dreams” about a priestess from the Copper Downs and “Promises,” a haunting tale of the City Imperishable about a young woman on a difficult path. Subtly steampunk is “The Woman Who Shattered the Moon,” centered on an old woman who was once a supervillain. “West to East” describes a landing crew trapped on a wind-scoured planet and their ingenious efforts to get one last message back to their ship. There are also two Lovecraftian stories that are perfect little gems in their own ways. — Library Journal