No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Sunday, March 26, 2006

#27: Black Projects, White Knights -- Kage Baker

An anthology of short stories that happen in and around Kage Baker's Company series. I'd read quite a few of these before -- they've appeared in Asimov's, and are available as e-books from Fictionwise -- but it's good to have them collected, though there is at least one omission.

It's difficult to assess this kind of anthology as a whole. Some of the stories work well alone, but others wouldn't make much sense to someone who wasn't already familiar with the setting and characters from the novels. There are several stories about the childhood and youth of Alec Checkerfield (including one that appears as part of The Life of the World to Come, see earlier review), and don't seem to add much to the character, though they're entertaining glimpses of his history. There's an entertaining tale about Lewis commissioning a secret screenplay from Robert Louis Stevenson (I do wish Baker would write more about the Company operatives' work in Hollywood: film history and cinema is such a strong element in the Company novels), and a glimpse of Enforcer mentality as a prehistoric brat climbs up to a remote cave to see if God still lives there. These stories kept me cheerfully entertained all through a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I know I'll want to read some of them again: but I suspect I'd have enjoyed them more if I'd read them singly.

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