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The Company novels are a series of time travel science fiction novels by Kage Baker. They focus on various employees of Dr. Zeus Inc., and the various political maneuvers and comspiracies surrounding it.

Dr. Zeus Inc., known to its employees simply as The Company, operates out of the 24th century, using time travel and specially engineered immortal cyborg operatives to collect and preserve artifacts from the past, ranging from pottery shards from Neanderthal times to entire species of plants and animals rendered extinct in the past. Since living things cannot (in theory) be safely sent forward in time, these items are kept safe in various underground bunkers to be "discovered" in the 24th century.

Books in the series

  • In The Garden of Iden (1997)
  • Sky Coyote (1999)
  • Mendoza in Hollywood (2000)
  • The Graveyard Game (2001)
  • The Life of the World to Come (2004)
  • The Children of the Company (2005)
  • The Machine's Child (2006)
  • The Sons of Heaven (2007)

Short stories and other works

  • Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers (2002)
  • Gods and Pawns (2007)
  • The Angel in the Darkness (limited edition chapbook, 2003)
  • Rude Mechanicals (limited edition chapbook, 2007)
  • Anvil of the World (2003)
  • Mother Ægypt and Other Stories (2004)- title story features the Company
  • Dark Mondays (2006)
  • The House of the Stag (2008)
  • Where the Golden Apples Grow
  • Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key (2008)
  • Not Less Than Gods (2010)

The Company Novels contain examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: Since Immortals can't die, this is used to get rid of them instead.
  • Bad Future: 2355. (Or at least an enigmatic, and thus worrisome, point in time.)
  • Battle Butler: Sir Henry Morgan
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: William Randolph Hearst.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mendoza is a quiet botanist who keeps to herself (except for when her love life gets dramatic). Kill her boyfriend, however, and suddenly she's throwing human heads around.
  • Bilingual Backfire: Mendoza knows exactly what the gondolier is saying about her, and tells him what he can do with his pole.
  • Brain Uploading: The Company does this to some historical figures. And for Adonai "brothers.
  • Cloak and Dagger: Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax
  • Compelling Voice: Edward Alec and Nicholas too, since they're clones finds out that he has this ability in Not Less Than Gods, and how he woos women has something to do with this. He can even talk his boss into finding maraschino booze (which he hates) really tasty.
  • Contemporary Caveman: The Company made several neanderthals into immortals, and they serve admin roles (but because of their appearance, don't really go into the open much). Joseph, one of the main protagonists, is also a former caveman- in fact, his father was the artist who did some now famous cave art in Basque Country and got killed for it, and Joseph would have as well, had he not been rescued by the Company.
  • Cool Boat: A futuristic time-traveling one designed by a pirate enthusiast!
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Courier: the guy is literally named this. He's brain-damaged and goes berserk if he spends the night in the same place twice, hence his job.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Labienus, the series' Big Bad, falls in love with a man at the beginning of Children of the Company, and later sleeps with one of his female co-conspirators.
  • Dying Like Animals: Various types
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Company operatives have access to tranmissions from all parts of history... except after a specific date in 2355...
  • Everything's Better with Chocolate: chocolate (i.e. theobromos) is the one thing that can make an immortal operative drunk.
  • Evil Jesuit: Played around with in the case of Joseph. He spent a significant period as a Jesuit (and rescued Mendoza from the Inquisition in this role), and has the perfect personality for it, being a sly covert operative. However, he feels bad about having to do evil things while in this role (i.e. allowing many others to be sent to their deaths) and likes the occasions when he can play a heroic role.
  • Fatal Attractor: Mendoza, only in her case they're all the same guy with different upbringings.
  • From a Single Cell
  • Gambit Pileup: 2355, many of the events leading up to it, and really Dr. Zeus operations in general. Played with in the fact that most of it seems predestined anyway.
    • Specifically, everybody knows the exact date in 2355 that marks the unknown future. So they all plan their coups and purges and revolutions to take place on that date.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: The official philosophy of the Company operatives, who blame fanatics who believe in Black and White Morality for much of humanity's suffering. The novels themselves are a good example, contrasting: a.) the normal company operatives, who are programmed for self-presevation and can't intervene to change history; b.) Budu and his cohorts, who will mercilessly execute you if and only if you're violent; and c.) Nicholas' various incarnations, who all have complicated plans to help humanity that tend to back-fire spectacularly. Once Labienus shows up, this turns into Black and Gray Morality.
  • The Gump: Dr Zeus either causes or directly profits by a number of major historical events.
  • The Heretic: Nicholas Harpole. Why yes, he died via Kill It with Fire, too.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Labienus and a large group of other villains are taken down by a modified version of one of the diseases he created.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Lewis is initially hopeful to start a relationship with Mendoza, but realizes that he'll never be able to compete with Dead Nicholas.
  • Idiot Savant: Most, if not all, of the people who designed the Company's technology. The homo umbratilis take this to extremes: the main class can produce technological marvels when commanded, but is totally incapable of original thought.
  • Immortality Begins At Twenty
  • Immortal Procreation Clause subverted later on with Mendoza in a very strange way.
  • It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It: The text indicates that a 'coercive sex' scene in The Sons Of Heaven is definitely not rape because of the act itself was done tenderly.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy - Lewis and Victor.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Latif and Sarai, Hearst and Tiara.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Roger Checkerfield got a vasectomy, and his wife was similarly inclined to not have children. This didn't stop the Company from forcing them to adopt a kid, which they hated and avoided as much as possible.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: It's noted that Mendoza's relationships were going to turn out with the partner dead one way or another. She manages to get them back, though.
  • Meanwhile in the Future: without San Dimas Time.
  • My Grandson, Myself: Porfirio (when convenient) and Hearst
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Alec inadvertently gets so many people killed at one point that he tries to kill himself when he sees the result. Also, Dr. Zeus the AI relies on the threat of this to preserve himself after his period of omniscience comes to an end. It doesn't work.
  • Oedipus Complex: happens to Nicholas and Alec for good reason, when your girlfriend becomes your mother, and your romantic rival is the one responsible for that particular wacky happening. And the guys remember from the getgo what Mendoza was to them before they got reborn.
  • Only One Name
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Alec Checkerfield
  • Plaguemaster: The Big Bad is trying to exterminate humanity through a series of devasting plagues.
  • Polyamory: how Mendoza resolves her man problems.
  • Psychic Powers: Crome's radiation, supposedly.
  • Real Person Fic: Lewis writes a terrible thousand-page epic about Edward Alton-Bell Fairfax.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Victor kills Labienus and his cronies with their own bio-engineered plague, he choses to die rather than live with the knowledge of the morally dubious things he's done. Considering he's immortal, that takes some effort on his part.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Alec Checkerfield
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: An anglophilic character a few centuries in the future has memorized the names of all three-hundred-and-some actors to play the Doctor.
  • Second Person Narration: "The Hounds of Zeus" in Black Projects, White Nights.
  • Send in the Clones: the Adonai project
  • The Slow Path: Back Way Back
  • The Spanish Inquisition: Mendoza's backstory
  • Spy Couple: Edward and Mendoza later, Edward/Alec/Nicholas and Mendoza
  • Stable Time Loop
  • Timey-Wimey Ball
  • Villain Episode: The Children of the Company
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Mendoza.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Several of the cyborgs.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Stated as a rule and used at numerous points.