In Memoriam – Rekka Jay

Rekka Jay (30 April 1980–18 July 2023), also known as R J Theodore, was a science fiction and fantasy writer, graphic designer, and a SFWA member and volunteer who was always generous with their time and expertise. They authored many short stories and several books, including the Peridot Shift and Phantom Traveler series.  

R J grew up fascinated by magic and unicorns, and fell in love with space through Star Trek: The Next Generation. In their writing, they combined magic-infused technologies, bioluminescing landscapes, and the dream of faraway worlds. Finding energy to finish and publish the Peridot Shift series was a personal goal, and those stories now stand in the world as a testament to their love of this storytelling blend. 

They were known for their kindness toward the writing community. As the leader of the Fairfield County Writers Group, R J lifted other writers, passing along their own skills and insights. They volunteered for SFWA’s Independent Authors Committee, Web Updates team, and the Nebula Conference in multiple capacities. 

Maurice Broaddus co-wrote the July 2022 Analog short story “Singing the Ancient Out of the Dark” with R J. He shares, “R J was a special light. To know them is to experience the joy they brought to all they did. The dedication, the perseverance, the determination to live life on their terms. I am forever blessed to have shared even the short time we had together as friends.” 

Scott Coatsworth, on behalf of the SFWA Independent Authors Committee, describes R J as a unique person with “a gift for creating wildly imaginative stories and fascinating characters. Rekka Jay was instrumental in launching the Indie Author 101 section on the SFWA site. It’s an endeavor that will provide guidance for new SFF authors for years to come. Everyone wants to leave a legacy. Rekka left us far more than their share. We are all the richer for it.” 

E. Catherine Tobler, editor in chief of The Deadlands, where R J came on as a designer in the early days of the magazine, says, “Rekka was a joy. You’ve no doubt heard that we meet the people we are supposed to meet in this world, and The Deadlands had a great need for someone with Rekka’s talents, humor, and ability. Rekka gave us so much more than we needed, and I have no doubt there will be some of their spirit lingering in the pages of every issue we publish.”

R J wrote a piece of microfiction, “The Origin of the Deadlands,” to describe their own connection to the magazine’s concept, one that was personal to them. Here is an excerpt from that piece

If you helped or hurt
If you loved the lost or joined their number
There’s a place here for you

Rekka Jay lived 43 years.