Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup

(2009, APEX PUBLICATIONS) Paul Jessup’s novella Open Your Eyes is a modern space opera with a feel reminiscent of the “New Wave” of science fiction which occurred during the late 60’s and early 70’s as best exemplified by many of the contributors featured in the table of contents of Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions anthology (writers like Delany, Aldiss, Dick, and Ballard come immediately to mind). In Open Your Eyes, we are presented with a world of deep space exploration. Spaceships are organic and very human with consciousness and even sex drives. The reader knows from the first few pages – in which a female protagonist is impregnated by a dying star – that they are entering a science fictional world that is more surreal than scientific. Depending on how you like your science fiction, this may or may not be okay.

For this reader, it was wonderful. I found Open Your Eyes entertaining, thought-provoking, sometimes disturbing in its violence, and even beautiful at times. It was not entirely consistent, however. The author’s tendency to overuse sentence fragments for dramatic effect grew tiresome during some of the action scenes. But this is a minor complaint. Overall, I found it to be an occasionally disorienting (in the best possible way) and excellent read. The story is something different, imaginative, and original. Open Your Eyes is a welcome oasis in the vast world of space opera, a genre that often seems too mired in the Golden Age of its past to contemplate moving forward.

My (modified) six pack rating: 3 out of 4 Steel Reserve tall boys.


  1. It was because of the disorienting nature of this tail that I had trouble with it a few months back. I ought to give it a second go some time to see if I'll warm up to it.

  2. Spaceships with sex drives! LOL. This probably wouldn't catch my interest, but your review changed my mind. For a story to be "...thought-provoking, disturbing in it's violence and even beautiful at times." is quite a feat. Looking forward to checking this out.