Kage Baker

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Kage Baker
Kage Baker in 2009
Kage Baker in 2009
BornMary Kate Genevieve Baker[1]
(1952-06-10)June 10, 1952
Hollywood, California, United States
DiedJanuary 31, 2010(2010-01-31) (aged 57)
Pismo Beach, California, United States
GenreScience fiction
kagebaker.com (archived)

Kage Baker (June 10, 1952[2] – January 31, 2010[3]) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer.


Baker was born and raised in Hollywood, California, and lived in Pismo Beach later in life. Before becoming a professional writer she spent many years in theater, including teaching Elizabethan English as a second language.[4] Her unusual first name (pronounced like the word cage) is a combination of the names of her two grandmothers, Kate and Genevieve.[citation needed] Baker had Asperger syndrome.[5]

She is best known for her "the Company/Dr. Zeus, Inc." series of historical time travel science fiction.[6] Her first stories were published in Asimov's Science Fiction in 1997, and her first novel, In the Garden of Iden, by Hodder & Stoughton in the same year. Other notable works include Mendoza in Hollywood (novel, 2000) and "The Empress of Mars" (novella, 2003), which won the Theodore Sturgeon Award[7] and was nominated for a Hugo Award.

In 2008, she donated her archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.[8]

In 2009, her short story "Caverns of Mystery" and her novel House of the Stag were both nominated for World Fantasy Awards, but neither piece won.[9]

In January 2010, it was reported that Baker was seriously ill with cancer.[10] She died from uterine cancer at approximately 1:00 a.m. on January 31, 2010, in Pismo Beach, California.[3] She was survived by five younger siblings, mostly located in southern and central California.

In 2010, Baker's The Women of Nell Gwynne's was nominated for a Hugo Award and a World Fantasy Award in the Best Novella categories.[11][12] On May 15, 2010, that work was awarded the 2009 Nebula Award in the Best Novella category.[13]

Kage spent much of the last year of her life watching and reviewing silent films. Many of her reviews were collected posthumously into Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen (2011), edited by her sister Kathleen Bartholomew.[14] From the foreword:

All these reviews were written during the last year of Kage's life. I don't think that affected her view much—sometimes she was so tired that watching films and composing reviews was all she could manage, so they got her nearly undivided attention. As the year wore on, more and more of them were composed ex tempore and dictated to me; I think there is a more conversational style in those, as we argued out the reviews. One she recited in a single long soliloquy in her hospital room; it was written that evening, as I doggedly transferred Kage's voice from my head to paper.

The last one is dated December 21, 2009. Three days later, we discovered her cancer had metastasized to her brain. A month later, she was gone.[15]

Baker left an unfinished novel, Nell Gwynne's On Land and At Sea, which has been completed by her sister Kathleen Bartholomew based on extensive notes left by Baker, and was published in 2012.[16]


The Company universe[edit]

Short story collections
Short stories and novellas
  • The Empress of Mars (2003) (novella version)
  • The Angel in the Darkness (limited edition chapbook, 2003)
  • Where the Golden Apples Grow (2006) (novella)
  • Rude Mechanicals (2007)
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne's (limited edition, 2009) (Also released as 'Nell Gwynne's Scarlet Spy')


The Anvil of the World
  • The Anvil of the World (2003)
  • The House of the Stag (2008) (Prequel to The Anvil of the World)
  • The Bird of the River (2010)

Short fiction[edit]

  • Mother Ægypt and Other Stories (2004) (title story takes place in the Company universe)
  • Dark Mondays (2006)
  • The Best of Kage Baker (2012) (includes stories set in and out of the Company universe)
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key 2008 Novella
Pareidolia 2015 Bartolomew, Kathleen & Kage Barker (March 2015). "Pareidolia". Asimov's Science Fiction. 39 (3): 22–39. Novelette


  • Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen, ed. Kathleen Bartholomew (2011) Tachyon Publications


  1. ^ Kage Baker at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ Kage Baker. "Bio". Archived from the original on October 3, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary: Kage Baker Archived September 9, 2012, at archive.today," SF Site, January 31, 2010
  4. ^ "Elizabethan English as a Second Language". Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  5. ^ Bartholomew, Kathleen (May 10, 2019). "Hath not an Aspie hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?". Kathleen, Kage and the Company. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Broderick, Damien (2019). The Time Machine Hypothesis: Extreme Science Meets Science Fiction. Science and Fiction. Springer. p. 155. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-16178-1. ISBN 978-3-030-16177-4. S2CID 199280899.
  7. ^ "Theodore Sturgeon Award". Archived from the original on February 4, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  8. ^ Kage Baker Papers, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection, Northern Illinois University
  9. ^ "World Fantasy Awards Home Page". Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  10. ^ "Kage Baker Health Update". Archived from the original on January 18, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  11. ^ "The 2010 Hugo and John W. Campbell Award Nominees". AussieCon 4. April 4, 2010. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  12. ^ "2009 World Fantasy Awards Nominees". Locus Online News. August 24, 2010.
  13. ^ Standlee, Kevin (May 15, 2010). "Nebula Awards Results". Science Fiction Awards Watch. Archived from the original on May 25, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  14. ^ Bartholomew, Kate. "Writing". Kate Baker. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  15. ^ Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen, ed. Kathleen Bartholomew (2011)
  16. ^ "Final novel by Kage Baker, Nell Gwynne's On Land and At Sea to be released". Upcoming4.me. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]