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.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
6 months ago