Friday, April 17, 2015

Up time, downtime, and in m'lady's chamber

So, given the last book in Kage Baker's The Company series was more or less an anthology that filled in narrative gaps from previous volumes, it was interesting picking up The Machine's Child and picking up from where The Graveyard Game as well as The Life of the World to Come left off. Which is to say Facilitator Joseph is regenerating his "Father", the enforcer Budu, last seen hacked to pieces by Victor in 1906 San Francisco; Mendoza is being dismantled somewhere in prehistory; and Alec, the third and final incarnation of Project Adonai, living with the other two incarnations living in his head. All three incarnations of course being Mendoza's lovers. (This would be Nicholas Harpool, last seen burning at the stake in The Garden of Iden, and Edward Bell-Fairfax, last seen being shot to death towards the end of Mendoza in Hollywood.)

There's a lot going on, including a few seemingly unrelated stories concerning a non-immortal cyborg back in 500,000 BCE dealing with office politics near The Silence in 2355 CE, as well as Facilitator Suleyman gathering Immortals near and revealing the facility Mendoza had been held captive in. He also marks a spot 2 years from The Silence towards the end, when all the operatives are given a special emblem of service.

But that's neither here nor there. Most of the book is focused on Alec learning to live in his head with the rather disparate personalities of his prior incarnations. His AI, The Captain. helps the three of them go back in time to save Mendoza from Operations Research, currently headed by Marco, one of the old Neanderthal enforcers. Using the same poison used on Budu, he does get what's left of Mendoza out, which leads into the parallel regenerations of Mendoza and Budu.

Budu is dealing with a slightly off kilter Joseph, who's obsessed with finding Mendoza and Alec. Which, given Alec can move through time, and after experimenting with Mendoza's chrome radiation, finding they can move past the point where she got sent back into prehistory....

There's a lot of time jumping going on. Joseph and Alec meet about 2/3 of the way through, leading to more than a few revelations.

We also have Alec chasing after his DNA so that The Captain can make him immortal as well, and Alec and Mendoza  going through time dropping off literal time bombs, set to go off when The Silence happens.

It's kind of jumbled in places, and the ending asks more questions than it really answers. But, after reading so much series fiction, it's kind of nice to find serial fiction, where everything is building off of everything that came before. Although no one as of yet has figured out about Homo sapiens umbratilis, nor has anyone found Literature Specialist Lewis, he's still being discussed, since they assume Dr. Zeus took him out. Which, well, sort of.

Anyway, I'll be returning to this sooner or later, since I'm really enjoying the series, and I'm really wondering how finished it was when the author died.