Item description for Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers by Kage Baker...
This collection brings together the early Company stories in one volume for the first time with three previously unpublished works, including "The Queen in Yellow," written exclusively for this compilation. In these tales sci-fi fans follow the secret activities of the Company's field agents---once human, now centuries-old time-traveling immortal cyborgs---as they attempt to retrieve history's lost treasures. Botanist Mendoza's search for the rare hallucinogenic Black Elysium grape in 1844 Spanish-held Santa Barbara, facilitator Joseph's dreamlike solicitation of the ailing Robert Louis Stevenson in 1879, and marine salvage specialist Kalugin's recovering of an invaluable Eugne Delacroix painting from a sunken yacht off the coast of Los Angeles in 1894 are included.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.19" Width: 5.43" Height: 1.02" Weight: 0.88 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2004
Publisher Golden Gryphon Press
ISBN 1930846304 ISBN13 9781930846302
Availability 0 units.
More About Kage Baker
Kage Baker was a artist, actor, and director at the Living History Centre, and taught Elizabethan English as a Second Language. Her talent was lost to us when she passed away after a cancer diagnosis.
Kage Baker currently resides in Pismo Beach, in the state of California. Kage Baker was born in 1952.
Reviews - What do customers think about Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers?
The truth about the angels: post-modern Time Patrol Jan 26, 2007
Rich and evocative, funny and moving, these stories are a real gem in modern science-fiction. The characters are original and sympathetic, and I couldn't help compare those stories to the Time Patrol stories of Poul Anderson. "Zeus" seems a rather more sinister employer than Anderson's organization, and certainly it's more like Asimov's "Eternity" in ruthless engineering of human history. I find this book and the "Company" series a very pleasant, intriguing and worthy read. Asimov would have loved the Shakespeare story, I think.
Great writing, shaky science fiction Mar 15, 2006
I have very mixed feelings about these stories. I don't know how comprehensible they would be to someone who hasn't had Baker's universe explained to them, but the stories are enthralling, wise and witty. One might want to first read at least the beginning of In the Garden of Iden (The Company) where the premise is explained. I thoroughly enjoyed reading most of them. They just aren't very good science fiction - Baker's universe is losing the integrity that separates science fiction from fiction with fantastic touches.
The Company novels are based on the premise that written history cannot be altered, but unrecorded history can. This is apparently "cannot" in the strict sense of the word, as in not possible, not "cannot" in the sense of forbidden or imprudent. This is a pretty weak premise: how can being recorded fix history, especially given that historical accounts are often contradictory? If the only account is actually inaccurate, does that alter history? What happens when the accepted account is altered by new material or archeological evidence? However, I am generally willing to allow one weak premise to get a good story going.
There is a distinction here: there are anomolies that the characters notice, and which supply part of the plot. I am referring here to oddities that none of them seem to see.
Reading these short stories seriously strains the premise: in one story, an operative saves a doomed infant - are we to understand that this must mean that the infant's society wouldn't have recorded his early death? Or that at no time in his life will his existence be noted, he won't have children? Would the medical procedures would have mysteriously failed if he belonged to a society that kept detailed records, or if his mother kept a diary or if he had descendents who would one day enter the written record?
Much of the activity of the Company agents is recovering and secreting items that were historically lost. Logically, however, the items could not be found before the order went out to rescue them (in the 24th century) or written history would be altered if the rediscovery of the artifact is noted. The recovery is often the focus of the plot in these stories: in one of the short stories, papers are taken out of an Egyptian tomb opened in 1914; at least one of them shows up in the 22d century and thereafter dramatically affects history. The story is gripping and hysterically funny, but this violation of the logic of Baker's universe bothers me.
I found the story "The Hotel at Harlan's Landing" haunting and reminiscent of the Twilight Zone. I was spellbound while reading it, but later I couldn't help wondering why the Courier cyborg in "Facts Relating to the Arrest of Dr. Kulagin" has a locater beacon that goes off when it is damaged and the damaged cyborg in this story doesn't. And why would someone unnecessarily force a physical confrontation when at a numerical disadvantage?
Several of the stories are about Alex, who I suspect is connected with Nicholas and Edward, featured in the novels. I enjoyed the stories as a comment on overly-organized and protective societies, but his sidekick "Captain Henry Morgan" is a bit too twee for me. I have this horrible feeling that Alex will be appearing in a swooning novel in the future.
Readers presumably know their own tastes. The reader that doesn't avoid science fiction, or who isn't bothered by logical inconsistencies will have some wonderful writing to enjoy.
cyborgs and time travel? Oct 29, 2005
Obviously running around in time and space would take a lot out on a body so why not use cyborgs? Why not use robots actually? Perhaps cyborgs look and act more human and thus can mingle better. As interesting as Kage Baker's "Company" is I liked the Alex Checkerfield stories the best. The boy who isn't as "made for" his society is a very real character and an interesting commentary on the idea that society must protect people can be taken to the extreme.
Snapshots from the Kage Bakers excellent world of Cyborgs Jul 22, 2005
Kage Baker has created a fascinating world where cyborgs, human beings who have been enhanced, augmented and made immortal live through the ages doing the bidding of the Dr Zeus Corporation in the 24th century. They collect artifact, rare plants, and anything else that has monetary value in the dreary world of the future. This collection of short storys, some previously published, shows snippets of the very longs lives of Mendoza, Budu, Lewis and other cyborgs who appear in the novels of the Company.
Alec Checkerfield, also a creation of Dr Zeus but not a cyborg - well, not like the others - is featured in four stories. These are part of the foundation for the novel `The Life on the World To Come', also by Baker.
I love what Baker has created and enjoyed each of the stories. While they stand alone as written, the reader will enjoy them more if the previous novels in this series are read as well. They fill in many of the holes that the stories expose (but cannot fill without turning into a novel). Since the setting of the series is the entire planet and all of recorded history (plus the future up until 2355) there is plenty of room for more stories of this type and I hope to see more soon.
In Good Company Dec 14, 2004
Before reading the Company novels, I was introduced to the idea through her short stories in the pages of Asmiov's. I feel that the shorter works are the strength of Baker and are better than the novels.
The idea of immortal cyborgs hiding in the shadows of history to plunder artifacts recorded as lost or destroyed is clever and provides the opportunity to place stories in a myriad of periods and cultures as well as dealing with famous and not so famous historical characters.
We not only get to see the two main characters, Joseph and Mendoza in these stories, but some more amusing operatives such as Kalugin and Lewin, providing more breadth on the operations of the company. In fact we get to see the early cyborgs, pre homo sapiens designed for enforcement rather than preservation or faciliation. A broad history of the company is painted in these short tales.
All the stories are quite good, as enjoyable in this collection as they were on the first read. The one caveat is that all together they are a bit much particularly if read in one sitting. Other than that I think the Company tales are first rate storytelling and Kage Baker a wonderful author.