Close Your Eyes

“A beautiful, fractured story of beautiful, fractured people in prose powerful enough that it feels fired from a shotgun.”– Jon Hollins author of the Dragon Lords trilogy

[ORDER NOW]Close Your Eyes

Language is a virus. Open this book. Read the words. Feel them infect you. Identity is a disease. Flip the pages. Stay up all night. Watch it transform you. You cannot deny it. You cannot close your eyes and shut out the changes. You know you want to. You really want to. But it’s too late. You can’t.

Critically acclaimed author of weird fiction Paul Jessup sends puppets to speak and fight for their masters. Welcome to a far future universe that stretches the imagination to breaking, where a ragtag crew of post-human scavengers rage and love on a small ship in the outer reaches of space, and moon-sized asylums trap the unwary in a labyrinth of experimentation in both identity and sanity.

Welcome to Close Your Eyes, a mind expanding surrealistic space opera that not only includes the out-of-print classic Open Your Eyes, but takes it to whole new level in a much awaited sequel.

Go ahead. Pick it up. Read it. Let it infect you.


“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.”
Publisher’s Weekly



Sunsorrow in Swords & Mythos anthology

Swords & Mythos

Look at that. My Jack Vance Dying Earth meets Lovecraft meets The Road (McCarthy dontchaknow) style short story SunSorrow is in the upcoming awesome Swords & Mythos anthology put out by Innsmouth Free Press, one of the coolest publishing houses this side of Carcossa. The writing style of this one is interesting- the rhythms of the prose is inspired by The Road, the world is taken a springboard form Dying Earth, and of course there is mythos inspired things shuffling around in the darkness.

It’s going to come out later this year, and yeah, you should pick it up. The table of contents seem great to me, and I’m really excited to read what’s inside of it.

Check the full TOC here:

& here is a small taste of the weirdness of my story….

She remembered:
Shoving little face under the water and it struggled and she held it down and it was flailing and she pushed harder. She couldn’t look down. Couldn’t look into the eyes. She wanted to stop existing, she wanted to stop being but she couldn’t she had to keep on living so pushed it down harder. Cramming the head against the rocks at the bottom of the lake.

She was crying. She remembered that. Remembered her cheeks wet with tears and she would lift the head up, thinking no, no, I’ll let you live, I love you so much I’ll let you live and then she would see the face wide eyes and screaming and terrified and she would shove it back down under the water again. And she was crying again. And the body was flailing again.

Why couldn’t she forget these things? If only it had been the once…


Werewolves- Cover Art

Werewolves takes the form of an illustrated journal that plunges readers into the life of a high school girl-turned-werewolf as she makes her transformation. After Alice and her brother are bitten by what they assume are large dogs, her journal/sketchbook becomes a place for her to record the changes they start to experience her socially awkward brother falls in with some creepy new friends, and she surprises herself with new strengths and instincts and a suddenly nonvegetarian interest in raw steak. Joining the werewolf pack that bit them, they discover the pleasures and dangers that come with the cycles of the moon, including threats from “hunters” who stalk them, a researcher seeking a cure, and escalating violence within the pack itself. With a fresh take on the lore and legend, Werewolves gives fans a ripping tale to sink their teeth into.

[print $13.57]
Urban Fantasy/Coming of Age/Werewolf/Horror
Publisher: Chronicle
Release Date: August 2010

ISBN: 978-0811877077Reviews

“The first thing you notice is how utterly gorgeous the simple illustrations are. Doodles of people, random colourful scribblings, the sorts of thing someone might well sketch in their journal. Seriously, how utterly beautiful are these!! The journal entries themselves have the right feel. Sometimes Alice is focussed, needing to record certain facts, sometimes more general distracted ramblings and Alice thinks things thorugh to herself.

They build up the story as well as giving us a sense of the main characters without losing the sense of personal scribblings. It’s effective and nicely done, the art and writing complimenting each other beautifully to build an extremely enjoyable experience.”

From Unbound!-

It’s a very interesting story with wonderful rich illustrations. The overall feel of Werewolves is one of growing isolation, even when part of the pack and through Alice’s astute comments we run the gamut of feelings with her, experiencing fear and elation and concern about her brother Mark and his role within the pack.However, having said all of that, Werewolves is one of those books that you will have to have once you’ve seen it in the “flesh” so to speak.  The illustrations and storytelling is unique and beautiful, making it one of those rare books that you want to give as a gift, but you don’t want to really share it with anyone else because it is just too cool.”

-From Geek Syndacite

“In “Twilight,” the female protagonist is forever reactive, and in “Lost Boys,” the women are victims or barely-there characters. “I thought it would be interesting to take it the other way,” Jessup said. He wanted a story “not just about a girl who needs to be saved, but a girl who saves herself — as well as her brother.”

The result is “Werewolves,” Jessup’s collaboration with illustrator Allyson Haller. Its central character, Alice Carr, must use wits and courage to “get out of a horrible situation with the crazy werewolves,” Jessup says, as opposed to waiting around for her brooding vampire boyfriend to rescue her again.”

From the LA Times

The illustrations add emotional depth to the story, Haller’s drawings combined with dashes of watercolor add a degree of humanity to the werewolves in this surprisingly enjoyable novel.-
From Large Hearted Boy:

Glass Coffin Girls

A collection of surreal,  experimental short stories published by PS Publishing in the UK and with a foreword by Jeff Vandermeer.

Glass Coffin Girls Cover Art

Glass Coffin Girls Cover Art

PS Showcase 6: Glass Coffin Girls

Purchase – [hardcover for $19.20] [jacketed hardcover for $40.00] [ebook version for $6.39]
Publisher: PS Publishing
Release Date: Spring 2009
Cover art: Darin Bradley
Introduction by: Jeff Vandermeer

Secret in the House of Smiles
Glass Coffin Girls
Stone Dogs
The Drinking Moon
Wire Rabbit
Red Hairs
Jars of Rain
It Tasted Like the Sea


The best way I can describe Glass Coffin Girls? Like Cinderella walking over the shards of her own glass slipper, broken…the blood looks positively gorgeous against the crystalware, don’t you think?
From- My Fluttering Heart Book Reviews

Another stand-out is “Secret in the House of Smiles,” which starts the book off in typically atypical fashion with Jack, a nutty college dude who likes to cut out pieces of women’s bodies from magazines and then paste them together in new configurations, his vampire (quantum vampire, that is) hunting girlfriend Alice, and a cabin in the woods where Jack and Alice meet their fate. “The Drinking Moon” is even stranger, a slip-streamy evocation of undiluted oddness whose overall tone is set by the words of the title.


“The title story, “Glass Coffin Girls”, is the second story and a much more interesting piece. The opening paragraph is a real “grabber” and sets up the coming conflict between the main characters beautifully. One thing that Jessup does extremely well, in this story and throughout the collection, is use sentence length and rhythms to propel the stories along. At times, his writing feels like free verse poetry, and he likes to use repetition and short lines for emphasis. Unlike in the previous story, the characters of Lewis and Emily are expertly drawn. The relationship between them is complex and multifaceted. Lewis’ obsession with cannibalism, seemingly rooted in childhood denial and secrets, dominates his very being and his obsession with the seemingly-suicidal Emily leads to him becoming increasingly dominated by her, having obviously been dominated by his mother before her.

It’s a story that has more narrative drive than “Secret In The House of Smiles”, and Jessup employs some characteristic fairytale tropes (an evil hound, wicked mother figure, glass coffin, wannabe princess) to new and freakishly-unusual effect. As the story moves along, the imagery becomes more and more bizarre and there is a real sense of claustrophobia built up as Lewis loses control of everything around him. It’s certainly one of the more accessible stories in the collection, thanks to cleanly-delineated characters and a cohesive structure, and I genuinely enjoyed it.”

From Innsmouth Free Press

Open Your Eyes

Her lover was a supernova who took worlds with him when he died, and as a new world grows within Ekhi, savage lives rage and love on a small ship in the outer reaches of space. A ship with an agenda of its own.

Critically acclaimed author of weird fiction Paul Jessup sends puppets to speak and fight for their masters while a linguistic virus eats through the minds of a group of scavengers in Open Your Eyes, a surrealist space opera of haunting beauty and infinite darkness.

Open Your Eyes- Cover Art

Open Your Eyes
[print $13.95] [ebook $3.99] [kindle $2.99] [Nook $2.99]
A surrealistic Space Opera
Publisher: Apex Books
Release Date: April 16th, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-9821596-0-6
Cover artist: Daniele Cascone

Her lover was a supernova. She smiled when he came- his bright burning light rocking her body, impregnating her with the essence of stars. Through the metal bones of her ship she felt the gasses enter her- felt the compound light exploding inside of her. Her hands clawed at the cracked vinyl of the chair, her legs spread to either side with toes stretched out- her mouth in piercing screams of ecstasy.


“With unique imagination at work, Open Your Eyes bombards the reader with stunning imagery, from living spaceships to mechanical butterflies.”
-Ekaterina Sedia, Author of The Secret History of Moscow and Alchemy of Stone

Open Your Eyes is surrealistic space opera in the tradition of New Wave experimentalism, echoing the fantastic imagery of Samuel R. Delany and the angst-ridden identity paranoia of Philip K. Dick, all bound together in a distinctly modern vision of a post-technological future bereft of a human core. Jessup’s bone spaceships and resurrecting crews tumble into the core of a mystery which is consuming the very hearts of suns. Go along for the ride, and open your eyes.
Jay Lake, author of Escapement and Green

Evocative, moving, elegiac, and sometimes surreal, Jessup’s Open Your Eyes is a space opera novella that lives and breathes in the 21st century. It blends together the best of fast-paced adventure and intriguing characters. Open Your Eyes is truly a nova in the science fiction universe.

Alan DeNiro, author of Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead


Analog Magazine
There are certain writers who instantly transport readers into new, unfamiliar worlds that are completely different from the universe we know. After only a few bites, the reader sits back, gasping, and reaches for the water glass. Then, eyes watering, he or she dives back in, licking the plate clean and asking for seconds. Think of Samuel R. Delany or Cordwainer Smith.

Welcome Paul Jessup to the ranks.

Open Your Eyes is billed as a cross between horror and science fiction, which is a little like describing filet mignon as a cross between cows and the laws of thermodynamics. More to the point is the publisher’s description of the book as “surrealist space opera.” Suspension of disbelief? It’s best to nail your belief to the ceiling for the duration.

Strange Horizons
Jessup’s novella ends up being notable specifically because it would never have appeared in The New Space Opera 2, as the pleasures it offers are so incredibly unique and different. Open Your Eyes shows us just how much possibility exists in the sub-genre of which Dozois and Strahan have only just begun to scratch the surface.

Publisher’s Weekly
In Jessup’s supernova-bright novella, his first stand-alone publication, pregnant space voyager Ekhi is rescued from her ailing vessel by the crew of a scavenger ship. Their captain, mysterious, doll-like cyborg Itsasu, mourns her husband’s death, and has been yearning to bring him back to life with the “Ortzadar engine” her ship is secretly carrying. She reluctantly allows Ekhi to join her crew, but keeps her under strict supervision. The other crew members struggle with various personal issues brought sharply into perspective by a sudden alien invasion and the discovery that the ship’s AI is playing a deadly game of its own. Jessup describes his surrealistic space opera vision with bleak, elegant prose and a dash of black humor. (Apr.)

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.