Thursday, January 29, 2009
Kage Baker Goodness Over the Horizon
I just turned in a novel, And We Are Everywhere, to Tor. It’s steampunk and involves the Victorian proto-Company, the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, as does the story in Extraordinary Engines. The GSS was first introduced in The Graveyard Game, and at the time I’d never heard of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or that British comedy group with a similar name. Now I wish I’d named my group something different, but it can’t be helped…(Of course, I have only to look at Baker's website and see that it's listed right there, under Forthcoming.)
Anyway, the book deals with a young Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax, how he’s recruited and trained, and the first mission he’s given, with two other trainees and an older, more experienced agent. I steeped myself in books on the Crimean War, Russia, and issues of Punch from the years 1846 to 1851. I researched arcane technologies. And, as with the other books, the characters took on lives of their own and did things that surprised me.
It was liberating, in a way, not to be writing about indestructible cyborg operatives. One set of characters appeared fairly briefly in the novel, but have occasioned a novella of their own, coming sometime next year from Subterranean: The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, about a sort of sister affiliate of the GSS, who operate a rather unique brothel in the vicinity of Whitehall.
I've got Extraordinary Engines on my To Read stack, and haven't had a chance to read Baker's contribution yet (I'm sidetracked by WFA reading at the moment, naturally), but the story she did for my Adventure Vol. 1 featured Bell-Fairfax and the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, and was one of my favorites of the anthology. Steam-punk precursors to the Company? Okay, I'm sold.
I cannot wait to check out And We Are Everywhere and The Women of Nell Gwynne's. (If you haven't read the Company books yet, what are you waiting for?!)