I have now read just about all of Kage Baker's "Company" (or "Dr. Zeus") books, which (among other things) follow a somewhat star-crossed romance through time -- but before you say, "Yuck, gushy stuff," it's those other things that make it so richly, wonderfully detailed. Within the scope of a single -- and highly consistent -- fictional world, she managed to incorporate:
--Time travel/time salvage
--Historical fiction (In A Garden Of Iden, Mendoza In California)
--Prehistorical fiction (Watch out for the Great Goat Cult!)
--Hard SF (The Empress Of Mars; fans of Heinlein should like this one especially)
--Cyberpunk (The "Alec Chckerfield" arc)
--A tiny bit of psionics. See there, John W. Campbell?
--Steampunk (Not Less Than Gods) (Fairly glorious steampunk, btw, none of your "watch parts glued/sewn randomly onto things," oh, no. Mind you, the careful reader might catch a glimpse of what's behind the curtain....)
--Flying Saucers (!)
--The little people who live under the hill (!!)
--Extrapolative social satire
--Chocolate (Mmmm! Chocolate!)
--At least one comedy of manners
It's quite a feat; sure, it helps if your backdrop is a Company looting all of time using a somewhat-restive collection of immortal cyborgs to do the tricky bits, but weaving such disparate elements into a consistent whole is still a demanding task, which she made look easy and fun. Fun, it is; easy to do, not so much. I recommend this not-quite-a-series, more of a web of books, without reservation.
Kage Baker passed away in 2010 -- but she left her notes and notions to her sister. There's another "Company" novel coming out at the end of this month and the strong possibility of more to follow.
1 month ago