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Black Projects, White Knights
Kage Baker
Golden Gryphon Press, 288 pages

Black Projects, White Knights
Kage Baker
Kage Baker was born in 1952 in Hollywood, California. She grew up there and in Pismo Beach, where she now resides. She has worked as a graphic artist, mural painter and assorted roles in the theatre. Many years of total immersion research in Elizabethan as well as other historical periods has left her with a working knowledge of period speech and details evident in her writing.

Kage Baker Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Graveyard Game
SF Site Review: Sky Coyote
SF Site Review: Mendoza in Hollywood
SF Site Review: Sky Coyote
SF Site Review: In the Garden of Iden

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Pat Caven

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Kage Baker is a storyteller. A consummate storyteller. This lady is the queen of tale telling with a twist. Great characters well conceived plots, thought provoking, funny and with a charming intelligent style anyone would enjoy. You get the point. I like this author.

Black Projects, White Knights is a collection of stories based in the future/past of her Company novels (In the Garden of Iden, Sky Coyote, Mendoza in Hollywood and The Graveyard Game). An excellent collection that expands her characters and fills in darker bits of the Company's agenda. But as good as it is, I don't know that you would be running out to buy this beautiful hardcover if you hadn't read her already. Although she introduces her "universe" in many of the stories, some might seem a little too obtuse read on their own. But her storytelling is so well realized, any one of these stories would make you want to go out and learn more. I envy you that. Like most of us who have already read everything she's published, we, like her Operatives in Time, would like to come across a previously unknown book because she just can't write fast enough for us.

Fifteen stories in all bring back some of the best characters -- Mendoza, Lewis and the trickster Joseph, but other characters like wonder kid Alec and his Pembroke Playfriend A.I. seem to be laying some groundwork for future novels. And while the focus in the novels are on the characters and their historical endeavors, these stories seem to focus on the grittier aspects of the Operatives existence. You become much more aware that these once-humans-now cyborgs taken out of time and made immortal are sometimes more human than the "monkeys" they deceive. "The Hotel At Harlan's Landing" -- the final story is a fine example of the darker side of immortality, which Baker examines with a poignancy that doesn't descend into the sentimental. The other end of the gamut -- "The Queen in Yellow" is a rollicking comedy with shades of Raiders of the Lost Ark as done by Monty Python. But whatever her angle, Baker offers you something to think about, laugh over and most importantly -- keep reading. Not something all collections can offer.

Recommended for those who enjoy Connie Willis, Matt Ruff, Tim Powers or Neal Stephenson.

Copyright © 2002 Pat Caven

Pat Caven was (and perhaps in some ways still is) a local bookseller. She has now wandered into the public domain.


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