I found this novella via a recommendation by Paul Goat Allen - science fiction/fantasy afficionado and reviewer extraordinaire. Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup was listed as one of Paul's "Best SF/Fantasy Novels No One's Read" shortlist. I was at loose ends one evening so I sat down, fired up the nook, and read away.
Jessup blends a number of SF elements into the story of Ekhi, found stranded in her ship, and the odd assortment of characters that find her on their way to compete a shadowy mission - space opera and cyberpunk, a little Phillip K. Dick and 2001: A Space Odyssey. People can back up their souls, humans interact with AI to pilot spaceships, bodies can be rebuilt/reanimated when seriously injured, and a mysterious "linguistic virus" threatens the lives and sanity of the crew. Jessup's use of language is vivid, both descriptive and spare at the same time; he doesn't waste much time on exposition to explain the novella's world to the reader (hurrah!) so we jump right into the story when Ekhi's lover goes supernova (literally, it's very cool).
I haven't been reading much SF lately so Open Your Eyes was a great change of pace. Moral of the story: if Paul Goat Allen says it's good, it's good.