Remembering Kage Baker

Kage Baker passed away from cancer on Sunday, and I'm still not sure how to process that. It's taken me this long to figure out what I want to say.

I've known Kage for over 10 years, though we hadn't chatted via email in a few years. I'd only just found out she was ill a few hours before finding out she was gone. The realization that there's a finite number of her stories yet to come, that I won't be able to invite her back on "Cover to Cover" to chat about them, is slowly sinking in.

Her early Company novels are amongst the small handful of books I've bought multiple times, in order to place them into the hands of friends that would enjoy them, but who had never heard of them, and probably wouldn't remember to check for them the next time they went book shopping. The stories worked their own magic on those friends, who never needed more reminders to check for Company tales.

There's a wonderful overview and appreciation of her stories from this past summer over at Green Man Review, and many thanks to whomever took that photo... I had to use it.

There's a lovely tribute to Kage by Marty Halpern, mostly about how he came to edit Black Projects, White Knights, amongst other memories. For his work on that collection, I think I will someday have to give him a hug and a kiss.

I remember asking Kage years ago why Graveyard Game was only available in the UK and why Mendoza in Hollywood was so impossible to find. I remember how antsy and excited I became when she told me that I only had to wait another year or so, because Tor was going to eventually rerelease the early Company novels as well as continue the series.

I remember her mailing a couple copies of Black Projects, White Knights back to me, having forgetten to sign them before doing so, and the huge laugh we both got out of that.

I remember the cover proofs she sent me of the new trade versions of In the Garden of Iden and Mendoza in Hollywood, and the snarky but amused commentary she'd written on them.

I remember her telling a bunch of us on an old forum that she was going to be in a segment on a Food Network program, and I remember hunting through the TV listings, hoping to TiVo it (even though she really didn't want any of us to see it). I remember the discussion about Victorian food, and the jokes about spotted dick in particular. I don't remember if I saved a copy of it to vhs or dvd for her, or for anyone else.

Even though I have her stories on my shelves to continue to enjoy along with the happy and funny memories, I will dearly miss Auntie Kage.

Link: Kage Baker


  1. Terrible news. I had no idea she was sick.

  2. So sorry Summer. So sad. Sending you special hugs.


  3. Hi, Summer,

    Thanks for sharing with us some of your experiences with Kage; and thanks too for pointing your readers to my blog post about Kage and the making of Black Projects, White Knights. And should we ever have an opportunity to meet, I'd be honored with that hug and kiss.

    - marty

    • Thanks, Marty,

      After reading about your encouter with her at World Fantasy, it made me regret even more changing my mind about going last year. We still have her stories, and yet another sad reminder that life's too short not to write.

      I look forward to seeing you at a WFC someday.

  4. Thanks, Summer, for posting your memories and feelings. The last time I corresponded with Auntie Kage was when it was announced that the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie would be entitled "On Stranger Tides," and I had to gab with her about whether or not it would have anything to do with Tim Powers' novel of the same name. Kage loved her pirates, after all. She didn't mention being sick at the time, but I understand now that she was.

    Kage was as classy and intelligent as she was talented. I'll miss her deeply.

  5. Summer, do you still have a copy of Kage's Food Network appearance? You sent me a copy of it back in the day. If you want, I could probably track it down in my stuff and send you back a DVD or something.

    • I honestly don't think I do have a copy of it anymore. Last spring/summer, i had gone through all of my video tapes to see what I wanted to keep and digitize, and what to get rid of, and it wasn't amongst the ones I had left. I know whatever hard drive I had it on back in the day is long gone... I don't even own that same computer anymore. If you could find it, that would be wonderful.

      Lee Whiteside also just sent me the audio of an interview done with Kage at Westercon 2008 in Las Vegas, so I'm going to be doing something with that as well.

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