RogerBW's Blog

The Machine's Child, Kage Baker 16 February 2019

2006 science fiction, seventh of The Company series. Alec Checkerfield forges ahead with his plan to rescue the Botanist Mendoza and take on the might of Dr Zeus and the Company. But he's not entirely himself, because his two past lives are sharing residence of his mind and body…

It's difficult to say much about this book, because it depends entirely on the revelations in previous volumes, and I encourage the reader to discover these in their proper time and order. But for me this is a bit of a rough spot in the series; it has some excellent comedic moments, like a supermarket shopping expedition and the Most Gruesome Beer Fridge Ever, but all of the characters are written very differently from the way they have been before. Some of that is explained by amnesia, but the ones who aren't amnesiac are very much less sympathetic than they've been before.

"I have been disputing with myself," he said, "since I have awakened into this unnatural life of horrible marvels, on the nature of Almighty God."

"And how doth that make thee feel, lad?" inquired the Captain.

It's a shame, because they're still written very competently; the time-travelling adventures to set up various lurking horrors that will attack the Company in 2355, when the Silence hits and nobody knows what happens afterwards, could be and often are fascinating, but I'd rather they had happened with the characters as I've grown to enjoy them over the course of the series, rather than these broken versions of them. Well, Suleyman's just about holding things together.

There's also nothing about Labienus, Nennius, Victor, Lewis, Nan and Kalugin… lots of people are missing, and I found myself impatient to hear from them.

This is very much a bridging book, getting people where (geographically, temporally and mentally) they're going to need to be for the final volume, but like middle volumes of trilogies that doesn't mean it shouldn't have its own story too; and it really doesn't. And Mendoza in particular is far too passive here to be really interesting.

Weakest of the series, alas. Followed by The Sons of Heaven.

Previous in series: The Children of the Company | Series: The Company | Next in series: Gods and Pawns

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha men with beards museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1