Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers

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Baker, Kage. Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers. Urbana, IL: Golden Gryphon, 2002. Series: The Company Collections. For reprint, translation, award nomination, and reviews, see Internet Speculative Fiction Database, as of February 2024, available here.[1] From Wikipedia entry (Feb. 2024): "Almost all of the stories contained within this volume have been published previously in the pages of Asimov's Science Fiction, with the remainder being previously unpublished. Note: not all of the Company stories extant at the time of publishing were collected into this volume."[2]

Contents from Wikipedia entry (loc. cit. immediately above):

• Introduction: The Hounds of Zeus"

• "Noble Mold"

• "Smart Alec"

• "Facts Relating to the Arrest of Dr. Kalugin"

"Old Flat Top": A young Cro-Magnon learns some facts about how his valley came to be settled from the Enforcer Joshua.

"The Dust Enclosed Here": A [holographic] simulacrum of William Shakespeare encounters Alec Checkerfield and comes out of the experience changed.

• "The Literary Agent"

• "Lemuria Will Rise"

• "The Wreck of the Gladstone"

• "Monster Story"

"Hanuman"

• "Studio Dick Drowns Near Malibu"

• "The Likely Lad": Alec Checkerfield and his amoral pet artificial intelligence take to the high seas.

•"The Queen in Yellow"

• "The Hotel at Harlan's Landing"

Collection reviewed by Philip Snyder, SFRA Review #263-64 (March-June 2003): 27-28,[3] who notes that the stories feature "Baker's 24th century organization of time-traveling, near-immortal cyborgs." More specifically, "In 'Hanuman,' the cyborg Mendoza is paired up with [...] a reconstructed and augmented Australopithecus Afarensis [sic on capitalization and roman]; what emerges from their encounter is a thoughtful investigation of commercial greed, the hubris of science, and the elusive boundaries separating ape, human, and machine." The story "'Old Flat Top' is pretty much a flat-out adventure about the Enforcers, 'the optimum morphological design for a humanoid fighting machine' [...]" (p. 27). "The Dust Enclosed Here" features "a holographic reproduction of Shakespeare" as a central character (p. 28).

So see for cyborgs, AI, holographs, and the time-travel motif.


RDE, finishing, 27Feb24