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The Machine's Child (The Company #7)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,105 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Kage Baker's trademark series of SF adventure continues now in a direct sequel to The Life of the World to Come.

Mendoza was banished long ago, to a prison lost in time where rebellious immortals are "dealt with." Now her past lovers: Alec, Nicholas, and Bell-Fairfax, are determined to rescue her, but first they must learn how to live together, because all three happen to b
Mass Market Paperback, 356 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2006)
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Well, this was the one I was waiting for, but I'm rather sorry it is. . . Plenty of plot happened, characters that had been sidelined got reactivated and moved into position, and there was actually enough time travel that I no longer feel guilty calling this a time travel series. (Though what happened to time travel being horrendously expensive? I guess only making the machines is expensive, because using them certainly didn't seem to be.)

Unfortunately, I absolutely hated Baker's rendition of th
Jan 18, 2010 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Despite my earlier glowing review of Kage Baker, I've read three of her books in as many weeks, and I have a complaint to lodge.

Kage: you know I love the witty, well-realized worlds you create. The snappy dialogue. The varied, engaging characters. The compelling conflicts. All the ingredients are there; why can you not turn them into a story? Why does basic Aristotelean plot structure so totally elude you? My response to coming to end of each of your books has been "What? Am I missing pages?" Th
November 11, 2006

Loved it. The series kicks over into serious goofiness, if you will, with three bickering lovers-of-Mendoza inhabiting a single body. Full-on robot screwball. With pontificating.


February 7, 2015

I have more issues this time with the issue of consent, but also much more pleasure from the screwball aspect. Time-traveling space pirates, oi! The covers still look like hell to me, though.

Library copy
This volume took me longer to get through than any of the other Company books because it was rather unfocused and unsatisfying. There didn't seem to be much happening; the characters spent the book transitioning and setting things up for the final showdown with Dr. Zeus.

Mendoza is a shadow of her former self, and I was really annoyed with how she's infantilized here. Nicholas/Edward/Alec taking advantage of her lack of memory just left me feeling ick over and over and over.

I also couldn't figur
Lady Knight
While I love Kage Baker's "The Company" series, this installment is probably my least favorite.

Alec and Captain Morgan (his AI) are back and are on the hunt through time to rescue Mendoza from Options Research. Along for the ride are Nicholas Harpole and Edward Bell-Fairfax who are now integrated into Alec's brain and the three must fight for control of Alec's body. Three, under the guidance of Captain Morgan, soon realize the true horror of the company and swear to bring it to its knees. Step
I started the series greatly enjoying the contrasts between women's roles throughout the eras and the ability to overcome those boundaries, but ended up getting bored with what seemed more like magical flitting back and forth between events without any overarching direction except the desire to rule all the world all the time. The Russian doll concept of the Company ends up being trite, and the battle between the Immortals and the real Company, while I am sure is full of deep symbolism, struck m ...more
May 05, 2008 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readable, much lighter tone, though this Company series installment indulges in some of the glib cheekiness that sometimes annoys me with Baker's books. But the story is fairly compelling, even if the seams in the "fix-up" (these later Company books were obviously assembled from short stories previously published in SF magazines) show a bit. Still, very readable as all Baker's Company books have been.
It took me a while to figure out that the title is about parent/child relationships: Josephus and Budu's child, Mendoza and Josephus' child, and Alec as the Captain's child. As always, I enjoyed the Captain tremendously, but I do not like Edward or Nicholas, so the relationships with Mendoza got old, fast. In addition, romance with a brain-washed magical woman who is almost programmed to adore her jerk lover is not my thing.
Jan 19, 2009 Vaughn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a great conceit, but irritating after a while. this is one of those books you flip through for plot alone.
Kathy Piselli
Jan 14, 2017 Kathy Piselli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, this is my least favorite company novel. It's still Kage Baker, but not as fun a Kage Baker. For one thing, there's a very creepy near-rape description with a Mendoza described as having the body of a 14 year old by an "unusually tall" beau. It's only barely consensual since Mendoza's mind has practically been wiped clean. There is lots of sex in fact, and not done particularly well. There are playful parts but not done as well as before. After so many novels, I am struggling to remember ...more
Nov 03, 2016 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Disappointing" would be an understatement of colossal proportions.
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 Ward Bond rated it really liked it
From Publishers Weekly

In Baker's fast-paced new Company novel, the sequel to The Life of the World to Come (2004), Alec Checkerfield shares his cyborg body uncomfortably with the Recombinant personalities of 19th-century spy Edward Bell-Fairfax and 16th-century scholar Nicholas Harpole. Each man, in his own time, worked for—and was betrayed by—Dr. Zeus Inc. (aka the Company), which uses time travel to recover and hoard important historical artifacts. In their quest to destroy the Company, Chec

Lissa Notreallywolf
So the title refers to Cap't Morgan, the minder of Alec. As a child, Alec modified his AI nanny's operating system, changing him from a benign sea captain figure to a pirate by over-riding his ethics control. It's in this novel that Alec is reunited with his former selves, all lovers of Mendoza. This odd triumvirate go to save Mendoza from her incarceration in an experimental medical facility overseen by a mad enforcer, Marcus. The Punitive Medicine Project is the Company's way of punishing it's ...more
Jun 08, 2015 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, 10, 2007
Mendoza was banished long ago, to a prison lost in time where rebellious immortals are "dealt with." Now her past lovers: Alec, Nicholas, and Bell-Fairfax, are determined to rescue her, but first they must learn how to live together, because all three happen to be sharing Alec's body. What they find when they discover Mendoza is even worse than what they could imagined, and enough for them to decide to finally fight back against the Company.

It is getting harder and harder to comment on Baker's C
Molly G
Dec 11, 2013 Molly G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Sorry, just a moment, please, for me to stop gibbering over the ending.

All right. I'm back.

Even if I haven't read all the great sci fi, I'm pretty up on at least having heard of it. And I simply have no idea why I hadn't heard of the Company series much, much earlier.* No idea why it isn't better known and why Baker isn't right alongside Le Guin and Heinlein and Atwood and Card and Niven and Stephenson and others as genre staples/members of the pantheon. (Maybe not at Founding Father level like
Bob Nolin
Dec 07, 2016 Bob Nolin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Company series began with a strong first novel, "In the Garden of Iden." Baker's knowledge of Elizabethan England, plus some fairly strong characterization, made for a compelling read. At the end of that book, our Mary Sue heroine's lover dies a martyr's death. The second book, "Sky Coyote," shows a second immortal, Joseph, saving a primitive tribe from genocide. Again, this was a strong book, with convincing historical and anthropological details, and no love interest. Alas, beginning with ...more
Stuart Dean
Jun 21, 2016 Stuart Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alec Checkerfield has downloaded the stored memories of his two clones and now the three of them vie for control of their shared body. They can only agree on two things: That they want to destroy Dr. Zeus and that they want to save Mendoza. They rescue her and then begin the process of laying the stage for when they bring down the Company. But the three Alecs have very different ideas about what Alecc and Mendoza will do after that.

Joseph has his foster father Budu in a secret base and is rejuve
Clay Kallam
Oct 03, 2011 Clay Kallam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy

‘The Machine’s Child’ (Tor, $24.95, 551 pages) inexorably advances Kage Baker’s celebrated Company series towards its inevitable conclusion, but that said, this 2005 installment, the sixth in the series, isn’t the best.

‘The Machine’s Child’ does feature Baker’s inescapable talent -- she’s witty and gifted with the ability to turn a wonderful phrase on a deft observation. On the other hand, she’s loaded down ‘The Machine’s Child’ with some very unwieldly burdens, including three characters sharin
Nov 02, 2016 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2010 Bryan rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
Disclaimer: I have not read nearly enough of this series to do a proper review. The only Kage Baker I've read is what I pick up on impulse at the local library. Years ago I read book 3 (Mendoza in Hollywood), and I've now just finished book 7 (The Machine's Child). I have decided to start at book 1 and reread in order, and hope that I'll find the books more satisfying.

I recall that Mendoza in Hollywood was relatively self-contained, and I hoped that this book would be, too.

And, unfortunately, it
May 29, 2015 Nigel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Three men in a head in a boat. Not the boat's head, an actual head of one of the three men. To say nothing of Mendoza. Poor old future playboy-turned-patsy-for-Martian-mass-murder Alec is obliged to live mentally and virtually with two earlier variations of himself, an effort to create a non-immortal enforcer type to do Dr Zeus' dirty work and maybe deal with ll the immortals piling up around the Silence in the future, from which no signal leaks. First order of business is to rescue Mendoza from ...more
Althea Ann
Sep 29, 2011 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been working my way through this series slowly. (No rush now, since there's no more to come... :-( )
The last few entries into the series have been wildly divergent, focusing on different characters, times, and places - but with 'The Machine's Child,' the different strands of this time-travel story rejoin.

The botanist Mendoza's three true loves: the 23rd-century aristo Alec Checkerfield, the Elizabethan religious zealot Nicholas, and the Victorian assassin Edward, are all stuck in one body,
Jul 30, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
he latest in a long line of Company novels, this book brings us onto the cusp of the Great Silence of 2355, when presumably something of cataclysmic proportions happens to either the Company cyborgs, or their devious masters at Dr. Zeus. The novel mostly concerns Alec’s uneasy truce with his two past selves, who now share his body, and his life with an amnesiac Mendoza . Mendoza and Alec have fallen in love four times now, but this is the first time that Mendoza did not have the upper hand. Alwa ...more
Nov 14, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another very fun entry in Baker's The Company series. More mysteries revealed, characters further developed, crossing plotlines, etc. Also, once again, very funny, like giggling out loud funny, which I always appreciate.

Mendoza is rather helpless and clueless in this one, but then so is the boy, in a different way, so it's all rather funny. Hoping the next book (I believe the last in the series, although there are prequels and novellas and short stories and such) has a satisfactory ending with
MB (What she read)
Comfort re-read 6/10/11. I am glomming this series this weekend.

12/26/13: Another reread.

7/30/16 Re-read once again. This book ends on the most incredibly wacky trio of cliff-hangers. If you're new to reading the series, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you have to hand The Sons of Heaven ready to jump into.

(You can hold off on Gods and Pawns if you'd like, although I don't recommend skipping it entirely. It's well worth the read. But it won't advance the cliff-hangers for you.)
Kyle Pennekamp
Jun 21, 2010 Kyle Pennekamp rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The second-to-last book in the 8-book-plus-2-collections-of-short-stories series. The series has had its ups and downs, quality-wise, and I have to say this is the low point thus far. There's little to no plot to speak of, the multiple-personality business with Alec that started in #6 gets tiresome by page 10, and the infantilization of Mendoza, the character that's taken us through this series, also grinds on your nerves. Outside of the concentration-camp-esque Bureau of Punitive Science and it ...more
Steven Bragg
This book contains a serious downgrade in characterizations from the previous books in the series, and not just with one or two people - the virus appears to have hit all of the major characters. Mendoza has lost her memory, and so is reduced to child status. The three people in one body are largely portrayed as bickering twits, while Joseph's character has been completely altered to that of a one-dimensional seeker of revenge. The only redeeming feature of the book is the highly excellent (but ...more
Amanda Keck
Jul 24, 2014 Amanda Keck rated it really liked it
Finally, the series is starting to feel like it's going somewhere. I feel like Baker got off track with the last few installments of the series, and we've finally got back to the meat and potatoes of the story. Still, her pacing is a bit off with a both anticlimactic and non suspenseful ending. Personally the further I get into the series the more I feel like the Company books would have benefited from a strong editorial hand making some essential cuts to move the plot along. I really love the c ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The penultimate book of The Company series.

In all practicalities, "The Machine's Child" is not the direct sequel of "The Children of the Company", as this book continues the story that last ended in "The Life of the World to Come." And as such, it bring this series back to the immediate story of Alex/Nicholas/Edward and Mendoza as The Silence of 2355 approaches and the The Company prepares for the inevitable chaos that is to follow. For the most part, this book deals with the various players an
Feb 19, 2011 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
You can't kill an immortal cyborg, but you can spend eternity trying. This time Mendoza has been sentenced to Options Research, where they do just that. When her triune lover Nicholas/Edward/Alec rescue her and discover what has been done to her, they plot vengeance on the company--and their own incarnations--come the Silence of 2355. Meanwhile, Mendoza's father-figure Joseph is on a similar quest of his own--one that brings him into conflict with Alec. Very good, although for much of this book ...more
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Born June 10, 1952, in Hollywood, California, and grew up there and in Pismo Beach, present home. Spent 12 years in assorted navy blue uniforms obtaining a good parochial school education and numerous emotional scars. Rapier wit developed as defense mechanism to deflect rage of larger and more powerful children who took offense at abrasive, condescending and arrogant personality in a sickly eight- ...more
More about Kage Baker...

Other Books in the Series

The Company (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • In the Garden of Iden (The Company, #1)
  • Sky Coyote (The Company, #2)
  • Mendoza in Hollywood (The Company, #3)
  • The Graveyard Game (The Company, #4)
  • The Life of the World to Come (The Company, #5)
  • The Children of the Company (The Company, #6)
  • The Sons of Heaven (The Company, #8)
  • The Empress of Mars
  • Not Less Than Gods
  • In the Company of Thieves

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