Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cool new series

Okay, technically it's an old series that I'm now reading. So it's new to me.

As anyone who checks in on my blog has probably figured out, I'd love to write my own reviews of the books I read, but I rarely manage it. My CFS-fogged brain, while it can still read happily (thank goodness!), struggles to coherently come up with intelligent discussion of the book. And being tired, typing it all up while working hard for the words I want is often more than I feel like managing. I could be reading another book instead.

All the same, I thought I might try tossing out a few comments here and there on what I'm reading. I get great pleasure from reading such things from other people so maybe it will be useful to someone else. Even if it's not, it's nice to have a bit of a "squee" now and then.

Right now I'm caught up in Kage Bager's Company books.

They're great.

A friend told me about them long ago - she's a big fan and buys them all in hardcover as soon as they come out - and I was always intereted but, like everything else, didn't know where I was going to find the time to fit them into my life.

I read book one, In the Garden of Iden (I'd like you to my Library Thing page for it, but the site is down so this will take you to Fantastic Fiction instead, which is a brilliant site) probably last year, and was fascinated.

I borrowed the next few from Alison and onto the TBR shelf they went. I added book two, Sky Coyote to my personal TBR challenge to try to get myself to read it and did so last week. Now I'm beyond fascinated and into hooked. I've since also read book three, Mendoza in Hollywood, and I have the first book of short stories waiting for me.

At 100 pages into Mendoza in Hollywood, I phoned Alison to beg her to send me more books. I'm trying to read one Company book, one other book, one Company book etc as I think if I read them back to back, my brain might explode, and it's kind of fragile as it is. I know I miss stuff, and I certainly forget stuff, pretty quickly, but I try to accept that and enjoy the reading.

The basic storyline is as follows (and stolen from Wikipedia):

Dr. Zeus (or The Company) operates from the 24th century, using technologies of time travel and immortality to exploit the past for commercial gain. The immortality technology is limited to taking young children and turning them into cyborgs. The time travel technology only allows journeys into the past, and returns to the present. In addition, the technology is expensive and dangerous for normal humans to use.

History, or at least recorded history, cannot be changed. Dr. Zeus cannot save Lincoln, warn the Titanic, prevent the sack of Rome, or stop the burning of the Library at Alexandria. It can take valuable artifacts thought to be lost in these and other events, and 'rediscover' them in the future. However, even without the dangers of time travel, Dr. Zeus' employees hate the past. By their time, all stimulants and narcotics are illegal, vegetarianism is compulsory, and they are disease- and dirt-phobic. They find the past's inhabitants disgusting.

To carry out its mission, Dr. Zeus sends its employees far into human prehistory, where they take children from Neanderthal and modern human families and give them the immortality treatment. These individuals are then promised a bright future in the 24th century, in exchange for working for the Company till then. Their job is to Preserve cultural artifacts, valuable plants, and endangered species, hiding them in safe places till the Company can 'recover' them in the future. The cyborgs will get to the 24th century the old fashioned way, by living through the intervening millennia. Along the way they can create others to help them, using children who would otherwise die and not affect history. They are also provided with many recordings of future culture, entertainment, and a carefully edited view of history. Dr. Zeus alone knows everything that will happen up till the 24th century.

As the series progresses, it becomes apparent that the Dr. Zeus story is itself a fiction. How they came by their technology, and how long the Company has really existed, is an unfolding mystery. In addition, nobody, not even Dr. Zeus, knows what happens after the year 2355. Although communication between different times is possible, there is nothing from beyond a certain date in 2355. This is known as the Silence, and is a source of dread to both Company people and cyborgs.

The first book is really set up, introducing us to Mendoza and her tragic first love affair that will resonante through centuries, who if not the major character certainly seems to be a catalyst character from what I can tell so far, the Company and their goals and the general world. It is in Sky Coyote that the anomolies and mysteries of the Company start to show up and they are just as fascinating as the current-time action of the main characters. I need to know what is really going on and what happens to everyone. I really, really, really do.

Since I finished Mendoza in Hollywood last night, I'm up to my in between book now and I'm thinking I'll go back to Venetia and finish that. Then it's on to Black Projects, White Knights, which is a collection of short stories. Hopefully by the time I've finished that and read something else, there will have been a parcel arriving in our PO box.

I do have a variety of interesting sounding books to read for my two book lists I try to keep up with (maybe I'll pimp those in another post as this one is WAAAAY too long ready) so I'll need to fit them in too (the most immediate ones are Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan and The Bone Doll's Twin and Hidden Warrior by Lynn Flewelling). I should have enough to keep me going for a while.

Also convenient, the last book in the Company series comes out next month and Alison assures me she is getting it in hardcover and immediately. So when I get to that point, she'll have it all finished and I can happily read my way through to the end.

What fun!

1 comment:

Darla D said...

Kerry - I loved The Company series. I kind of envy you, getting to read them all in a row when the last one is just about to come out. It always takes me a while to remember what happened, and (not that it's a burden or anything) I've had to go back and re-read some of them, because they are pretty complicated and I don't want to miss out on anything!

Anyway, I'll be curious to hear your thoughts when you get to the last one.