Subterranean Press is gearing up to publish The Best of Kage Baker, which gathers nearly 200,000 words consisting of Company stories (including one never before collected), a few tales from Kage’s other collections, and eleven additional stories. Given the range and how consistently entertaining Kage’s work remains, The Best of Kage Baker will be essential for her many fans.
Kage Baker’s death in 2010 silenced one of the most distinctive, consistently engaging voices in contemporary fiction. A late starter, Baker published her first short stories in 1997, at the age of forty-five. From then until the end of her life, she wrote prolifically and well, leaving an astonishing body of work behind.
The Best of Kage Baker is a treasure trove that gathers together twenty stories and novellas, eleven of which have never been collected anywhere. The volume is bookended by a pair of tales from her best known and best loved creation: The Company, with its vivid cast of time traveling immortals. In “Noble Mold,” Mendoza the botanist and Joseph, the ancient “facilitator,” find themselves in 19th century California, where a straightforward acquisition grows unexpectedly complex, requiring, in the end, a carefully engineered “miracle.” In “The Carpet Beds of Sutro Park,” an autistic Company operative named Ezra encounters a lost soul named Kristy Ann, and finds a way to give her back the world that she has lost.
Among the volume’s many other highlights are a pair of brilliant Company novellas: the Hugo Award-nominated “Son, Observe the Time” and “Welcome to Olympos, Mr. Hearst,” a tour de force set in the Hollywood of the 1930s and featuring an encounter with legendary newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. There is also a generous assortment of equally brilliant standalone tales, including “Calamari Curls,” the account of a faded resort town that takes a surprising turn into Lovecraftian terrain, and the World Fantasy Award-nominated “Caverns of Mystery,” in which ancient stories play themselves out repeatedly, shaping and altering the world around them.
These are only a few of the pleasures waiting within this book. The Best of Kage Baker is exactly what the title proclaims: the best short work of a gifted and irreplaceable writer. Anyone with an interest in first-rate imaginative fiction – anyone with an interest in lovingly crafted fiction of any kind – needs to read this book.
Limited: 250 numbered copies, bound in leather: $60
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover copies: $40
You can pre-order directly from Subterranean here: The Best of Kage Baker