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



Announcing a brand spanking new Weird and Surreal Space Opera for 2018

Apex books acquired my novella sequel to Open Your Eyes (called Close Your Mouth). The plan is to combine it with Open Your Eyes and a short story prequel, and publish it all together as a novel (since they do work well together as a novel, the way the timelines work and etc). Basically, it’s an old school style fix-up. Which makes my pulp brain twitter with delight.

Should be out mid-to-late 2018. Here’s the official post at Apex-

And here’s an excerpt from Close Your Mouth, to sort of wet your appetite-

Itsasu’s Room:

Not large at all, barely wide enough for a few things here and there. Scattered about, small and claustrophobic. A bed that breathed at night with wet noises. Splish. Splish. Splish. A wall that was more shelves than space. Covered in tiny vials and tubes and random pages cut out of books. Yellow, those pages. Haunted, those pages. She read them a few times over the years. But the words never stuck in her mind. Always left a whisper and nothing else.

A bejeweled skull on the corner of her breathing bed. You could smell the AI dust roaming about it. The smell of yeast. Growing, growing, and devouring the air. That kind of yeast that suffocates you and brings you close to death. That was the smell of her memories. Populating that skull. Giving it crude life. Almost her husband. Not quite. Something broken in the way he spoke. Something hollow and peppered with randomness.

Another wall, another map. This one crude hand drawn. She’d tried to map out the egia so many times. But her hands. So rough, so broken. Hands that were not the right kind of hands. Grown from bird beaks and crow’s feet. Stitched and attached and she was more doll than person now. How much left of her was real? How much left of her was torn out and taken away?

Storm #360DaysofSymbols

Day 18 of 360 Days of Symbols. Today’s symbol? Storm.

The sky growls. It moves with pregnant clouds and whispers of floods to come, of rains that will wash us and bake us with lightning fire. The thunder is alive. The lightning a living thing.

Somewhere beneath a fox runs to hide, but the storm. The storm finds him. Follows him and wets him bone to bone.

Sun: #360DaysofSymbols

Here is day 4 of the 360 Days of Symbols. This symbol is Sun.

For this one I decided to make a mock excerpt from a fictional epic poem from some long ago elsewhere planet/fantasy world. Consider this something that might be at the start of a secondary world fantasy novel, like the excerpts in the EarthSea books

“sky dragon hear me
I sing in your ruins
and run over the bones of your brotherearth

sky dragon hear me
I am not the child of a ruler
I am not a godthing
I am the humble one
and my heart is the size of a thimble

sky dragon hear me
bring me up through the veil of clouds
burn me with your daystar embrace
give me the gift of your fire

make me dragon blood and dragon skin
and let my breath be the thunder of fear
and the nightmare songs of my enemies”

From the third tablet of Enlial
Author unkown
Rough translation

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…

Enter Title Here.

I’m re-reading the classical anti-irony essay by David Foster Wallace, E Unibus Pluram (I’m reading it in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, but it’s also online here) and nodding along like all good nodders do when they see something laid out what they were thinking, but said in a way more elegant than their own thoughts could ever say. Because thoughts in the end are muddied wires running through thick rural wastelands, coming up in nests of electrical eggs and sparking around but not finding the current, not finding the actual actuality of it. Or something like that.

Here’s a quote that I think sums it all up:
And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down. All U.S. irony is based on an implicit “I don’t really mean what I’m saying.” So what does irony as a cultural norm mean to say? That it’s impossible to mean what you say? That maybe it’s too bad it’s impossible, but wake up and smell the coffee already? Most likely, I think, today’s irony ends up saying: “How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.” (pg 67-ish in my copy)

And it makes me think of Vonnegut’s Mother Night, his darkest, dreariest book, with the humor in it so sharp and filled with morose about the human condition I always have to watch Looney Tunes for an hour after reading it just to fend off the cynicism. In it, of course, if you read it or whatever, you’ll note the whole point of it is We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

And when DFW is calling Irony as totalitarian instinct, that in the end it’s not about something but more about not being something, an oppression of self, so to speak, this line from Vonnegut (and the whole book, really) becomes an illumination of sorts- that irony itself is a wall trying to pretend we are who are not, but in actuality that’s who really are. In other words, irony is a cheap trick to wall off ourselves from reality, but in actuality it is in a way a reflection of our reality. It is, so to speak, who we really are, but disguised in a way not to leave ourselves vulnerable, a way of showing a true self but hide behind this wall of wit or pathos but is in actuality our truth in a way.

Or if it’s not the truth of the matter when it’s first thought of, it eventually becomes the truth of the matter. Another good quote that he quotes from someone else- irony is sincerity with a motive. It’s an interesting thought, about who we can be and who we are, and what we will ourselves to be.

It’s hard to search for truth and meaning (esp in fiction or narratives or works or whatever) when it’s occluded behind a jocular shell, something were we put ourselves at a distance from our surroundings, from ourselves, yet you have to wonder if this is irony or if it is actuality.

And with all the narratives/etc (movies, commercials, novels, poetry, etc) all hiding behind ironic curtains (oooh- a pun!) the actual truth that comes out is more refreshing and somewhat distrustful but somehow in the end a truth in a way and it leaves the person slinging things like that vulnerable and ready to be stabbed, but also more substantial. Of course, irony works best as an attack on conformity, but sincerity doesn’t have to be about conforming, about filling a mold. There has to be a sort of middle ground. Fuck if I know what that is. I just know I’m sick of all this put on concepts, where we feel like this distance and this fake-culture is more important than actuality.

Is there a way of turning off those damned quotes?

Here on wordpress, you know when you finish a post and you publish it you get a quote from some dead (or almost dead) writer guy (who was never a poet, let’s be honest, who probably wrote the most blandest simplest things in the world, let’s be honest) about how to be a good writer? I want to turn those damned things off, they annoy me to no end and I could care less about what any of these dead guys think on what makes good prose or good plot or good whatever.

And you know what else I want to turn off? That achievement crap – oh yay you made a million posts this week you special snow flake you!  You unlocked the “I’m 42 and can finally dress myself” achievement! YAY!  Here’s a cookie made with wuv and chocowat.  I don’t need it, I don’t care, I don’t want my blog telling me all this stuff, I just want to do what I do and maybe one of you people out there will listen and hey isn’t that nifty.

This. Yes. This.

Most readers seem to expect fiction to have a single, stable truth. If it is a realist story, it must of course be “realistic” and have a certain objective truth. If it is a fantasy or science fiction story, readers expect a coherent world and consistent rules. Part of the genius of Kafka is his willingness to ignore those concerns. His stories are not worried about logical consistency or world-building, but in emotional and psychic power. They are peppered with moments, such as this passage, where the reality of the story crumbles around it and rebuilds itself with unexpected logic into something new.