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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.

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