The Company

I just read the conclusion of Kage Baker’s Company series, The Sons of Heaven, which just came out in paperback. I was lucky enough to pick up her first book, In the Garden of Iden, on a whim back when it came out. That was good enough for me to buy her second book, Sky Coyote, and that book was truly excellent. Since then I’ve bought everything she has written.

The Company series, which is11 books long (and there may be some more short stories not yet collected), is a complicated mix of time travel adventure and social satire. Baker is an excellent writer, and is a pleasure to read even when she is just unfolding plot points–and boy are there a lot of plot points. Her characters are well crafted, and her satire is amusing and more plausible than it really should be.

An aspect of Baker’s writing that I really appreciate is her ability to build up a character who appears to be a stereotype, and then flip the character into something completely different and unique, without in any way changing anything she already described. Bad writers often do this badly, but Baker does it superbly. That what was most impressed me about Sky Coyote, as Joseph, and the reader, keep coming to a deeper and better understanding of the Chumash.

The Company series is so complicated that I was not at all sure that she would be able to actually write a conclusion, but The Sons of Heaven pulls it off, wrapping everything up very satisfactorily while staying true to the series. She even makes parts of the story more plausible as she does so, and looks in on just about every single character–at least, I couldn’t remember any which she left out.

I’m really surprised that Baker has not won more awards in the SF field. At least all her books seem to be back in print now–for a while they were hard to find. I think she is one of the top tier SF writers, but she doesn’t seem to have quite the recognition she deserves.

You must be logged in to post a comment.