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Literature / The Company Novels

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The Company sequence of novels and short fiction takes place in a Science Fiction universe created by Kage Baker. They involve Time Traveling agents in the employ of Dr. Zeus Inc., and the various political maneuvers and conspiracies surrounding them.

Dr. Zeus Inc., known to its employees simply as The Company, operates out of the 24th century, using time travel and specially engineered immortal cyborg operatives to collect and preserve artifacts from the past, ranging from pottery shards from Neanderthal times to entire species of plants and animals rendered extinct in the past. Since living things cannot (in theory) be safely sent forward in time, these items are kept safe in various underground bunkers to be "discovered" in the 24th century.


Novels in the main series

  • In The Garden of Iden (1997)
  • Sky Coyote (1999)
  • Mendoza in Hollywood (2000) (British title: And the Edge of the West)
  • The Graveyard Game (2001)
  • The Life of the World to Come (2004)
  • The Children of the Company (2005)
  • The Machine's Child (2006)
  • The Sons of Heaven (2007)

Collections, novellas published as chapbooks and novels outside of the main sequence

  • Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers (collection, 2002)
  • "The Angel in the Darkness" (limited edition chapbook, 2003)
  • Mother Ægypt and Other Stories (collection, 2004) (title story features the Company)
  • "Rude Mechanicals" (limited edition chapbook, 2007)
  • Gods and Pawns (collection, 2007)
  • "The Empress of Mars" (novella version, 2009)
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne's (collection, 2009)
  • Not Less Than Gods (novel, 2010)
  • "Nell Gwynne's Scarlet Spy" (novella, 2010)
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  • The Empress of Mars (expansion of the novella of the same name, 2010)
  • "Nell Gwynne's at Land and at Sea" (novella left unfinished at Kage Baker's death and completed by her sister Kathleen Bartholomew, 2012)
  • In the Company of Thieves (collection, 2013)

The Company Novels contain examples of:

  • Applied Phlebotinum: Crome's Radiation. Described as a blue glow occurring around certain places and persons, this is supposedly the source of paranormal abilities in humans and cyborgs. Bonus points are awarded for it accumulating in quartz crystals.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Two examples which compensate for each other;
    • Time travel itself does horrible things to organic material, and that's before you factor in the Butterfly of Doom.
    • The Immortality Process only works on a tiny percentage of humans, and even then only if the subject receives it in infancy(one account says the Company has never even attempted to immortalize a subject who had lost even one milk tooth), which is why it's only used on Company employees. A less effective (but more widely applicable) variation is marketed as geriatric medicine.
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    • 8 Combine the two, and you can loot the past very profitably thanks to immortal slaves taking The Slow Path back.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mendoza is a quiet botanist who keeps to herself (except for when her love life gets dramatic). Kill her boyfriend, however, and suddenly she's throwing human heads around.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Company cyborgs are The Ageless, can heal From a Single Cell, have Super Strength and Super Speed, have modified brains that grant them Photographic Memory and the capacity to become Instant Experts, and are equipped with a variety of Super Senses.
  • Compelling Voice: Edward Alec and Nicholas too, since they're clones finds out that he has this ability in Not Less Than Gods, and how he woos women has something to do with this. He can even talk his boss into finding maraschino booze (which he hates) really tasty.
  • Contemporary Caveman: The Company made several neanderthals into immortals, and they serve admin roles (but because of their appearance, don't really go into the open much). Joseph, one of the main protagonists, is also a former caveman- in fact, his father was the artist who did some now famous cave art in Basque Country and got killed for it, and Joseph would have as well, had he not been rescued by the Company.
  • Courier: the guy is literally named this. He's brain-damaged and goes berserk if he spends the night in the same place twice, hence his job.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Labienus, the series' Big Bad, falls in love with a man at the beginning of Children of the Company, and later sleeps with one of his female co-conspirators.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Company operatives have access to tranmissions from all parts of history... except after a specific date in 2355...
  • Evil Jesuit: Played around with in the case of Joseph. He spent a significant period as a Jesuit (and rescued Mendoza from the Inquisition in this role), and has the perfect personality for it, being a sly covert operative. However, he feels bad about having to do evil things while in this role (i.e. allowing many others to be sent to their deaths) and likes the occasions when he can play a heroic role.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Labienus and a large group of other villains are taken down by a modified version of one of the diseases he created.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Lewis is initially hopeful to start a relationship with Mendoza, but realizes that he'll never be able to compete with Dead Nicholas.
  • Idiot Savant: Most, if not all, of the people who designed the Company's technology. The homo umbratilis take this to extremes: the main class can produce technological marvels when commanded, but is totally incapable of original thought.
  • The Illuminati: Dr. Zeus, Inc. is described thusly in "The Hounds of Zeus":
    "[A] secret fraternity made up of scientists and businessmen, the secret fraternity for which all other so-called secret fraternities are merely decoys. Its members rule the world. They have unlimited power."
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Roger Checkerfield got a vasectomy, and his wife was similarly inclined to not have children. This didn't stop the Company from forcing them to adopt a kid, which they hated and avoided as much as possible.
  • Mars Wants Chocolate: Chocolate is the one substance that can intoxicate the operatives. One novel refers to a character having a "dealer" in premium chocolate
  • Mayfly–December Romance: It's noted that Mendoza's relationships were going to turn out with the partner dead one way or another. She manages to get them back, though.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: The cyborgs in the Plague Club consider mortals to be pests to be exterminated.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Alec inadvertently gets so many people killed at one point that he tries to kill himself when he sees the result. Also, Dr. Zeus the AI relies on the threat of this to preserve himself after his period of omniscience comes to an end. It doesn't work.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: The text indicates that a 'coercive sex' scene in The Sons Of Heaven is definitely not rape because of the act itself was done tenderly.
  • Pineal Weirdness: The hormone that makes the cyborgs eternally youthful is called "Pineal Tribrantine 3."
  • Plague Master: The Big Bad is trying to exterminate humanity through a series of devasting plagues.
  • Real-Person Fic: Lewis writes a terrible thousand-page epic about Edward Alton-Bell Fairfax.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Victor kills Labienus and his cronies with their own bio-engineered plague, he choses to die rather than live with the knowledge of the morally dubious things he's done. Considering he's immortal, that takes some effort on his part.
  • Super Mode: The cyborgs can go into a "fight mode," in which they sprout Wolverine Claws and long, sharp teeth, protective coverings slide over their eyes, and their skin turns bone white.
  • Time Abyss: Several of the Executives are tens of thousands of years old. The Enforcers are even older.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Pretty much all of the Executive-ranked cyborgs are plotting against the Company's human owners (who are plotting against them right back).
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: The majority of Immortals can be divided between those who view Muggles as slaves to be ruled and those who view them as vermin to be wiped out. Those who actually like ordinary humans are few and far between.
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: The Company's immortal cyborgs are recruited at a young age (typically in a precarious situation) and offered rescue from the immediate crisis as well as immortality and a future place in a utopian project. Mrs. Corvey in the Nell Gwynne stories is also technically a cyborg and likewise was recruited via body upgrade. She lost her eyesight as a child laborer and was found by the Company's front organization the Gentleman's Speculative Society. In exchange for working for them, they gave her a better life, cured her syphilis, and replaced her nonfucntional eyes with Electronic Eyes that not only allow her to see perfectly, but also have telescopes and night vision built in.


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