Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Life of the World to Come” as Want to Read:
The Life of the World to Come
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Life of the World to Come (The Company #5)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,394 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
From idea to flesh to myth, this is the story of Alec Checkerfield: Seventh Earl of Finsbury, pirate, renegade, hero, anomaly, Mendoza's once and future love.

Mendoza is a Preserver, which means that she's sent back from the twenty-fourth century by Dr. Zeus, Incorporated - the Company - to recover things from the past which would otherwise be lost. She's a botanist, a good
ebook, 336 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published December 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Life of the World to Come, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Life of the World to Come

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jamie Collins
This is my least favorite of the Company novels so far, even if it thoroughly, almost methodically, explains the mystery behind Mendoza's reincarnated doomed lover. The writing is quite good, often funny, but this just isn't my kind of story.

This one is set far in the future, only a few years before the mysterious silence is due to begin in the year 2355. I'm not enjoying Baker's depiction of the future nearly as much as I enjoyed reading about her immortal operatives living in the past. I disli
A word, first, on the publishing. Sometime between The Graveyard Game and this novel, Kage Baker switched to Tor. I am extremely grateful for that. The cover design is much sleeker, and there is a very definite style to the series covers from this point on, making it immediately obvious when you see the books lined up that they are, in fact, a series. The jacket descriptions, too, are much improved, as you can hopefully see from the one I included above. I just wish that Tor had the rights to th ...more
February 12, 2004

Love this series, hate the covers. That's really rather unappealing, don't you think?


January 26, 2015

More than a decade later and I love this even more. The covers are still embarrassing as hell with art derived from some other story and weird giant heads floating above it all.

Okay, so now Mendoza is being punished by The Company who've sent her Way Back (150k years back) on Catalina Island. Well, the weather is good, and she's got time to work on her maize. Then one day a sh
Returned to this abandoned read after at least five years. I realized that the problem I had was with the book format, and once I got it as an ebook I zipped through it.

It was nice to revisit the world and the characters of The Company, especially Mendoza and all of the different incarnations of Alec / Nicholas / Edward that keep haunting poor Mendoza throughout time.

Nothing has ever surpassed the amazing first book in the series, In the Garden of Iden, but I was glad to spend some time with t
Steven Bragg
This book is just not that readable, as it suffers from two flaws. First, the evil folks at Zeus who have been manipulating people for centuries turn out to be a group of bumbling twits. Hello, where did the dramatic tension go with that decision? Also, the computer mentor for the male lead has the personality of a five year-old drunk on pirate movies. Again, what was the author thinking? Instead of being drawn into a gripping story, it is hard not to wince.
Deborah Replogle
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of The Company science fiction series. Liked it very much.
Tom Loock
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I feel like being rewarded for sticking with 'The Company'-series. With 'Mendoza in Hollywood' (Vol. 3) I almost gave up, but this one (Vol. 5) ... this one is a real gem.

Mendoza takes two steps back, and her lover(s) three steps forward. A whole cast of new characters - curators, pirates, (more) cyborgs enter the frame, each one interesting with a promise of more to come.

Highly recommended!
this series just keeps getting better and better. i enjoyed the dialogue between alec and the captain although its a device some might find annoying.
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
From Publishers Weekly

Baker's trademark mix of serious speculation and black humor informs this solid addition to her time-travel series that began with 1998's highly regarded In the Garden of Iden, in which the botanist Mendoza, an immortal female cyborg employed by the rapacious Company, fell in love with a mortal while on a mission in 16th-century England. Tragically, her lover was then burned at the stake. Later in the series, during the 19th century, she fell in love with another man who

Bob Nolin
The central idea of the Company novels-- that time travel is possible but changing recorded history is not--is very cool. Even cooler is the idea of building immortal cyborgs way back at the dawn of mankind, and having them rescue artworks, species, and even whole tribes, all before they disappear (as in the second book, "Sky Coyote"). Unfortunately, Baker decided to "reincarnate" the love interest from the first book in her third outing, "Mendoza in Hollywood," and that original concept turned ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In tanti anni, non avevo ancora letto nulla che si potesse ricondurre solo ed esclusivamente al genere Fantascienza, quindi devo dire che sono rimasta parecchio sorpresa quando, proseguendo con la lettura di questo libro, mi sono accorta che mi piaceva tantissimo.
La Baker aveva un modo di raccontare davvero unico, mi sono ritrovata spesso al fianco di Alec mentre compiva le sue avventure, immersa totalmente nella storia. Per non parlare del fatto che tutto sembra così normale, tanto che mi aspet
Stuart Dean
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The life of Alec Checkerfield. Alec is the son of the Earl of Finsbury, Company employee, in the 24th century. He leads the life of the idle rich in a time when political correctness has taken over much of the world, outlawing nasty things like milk and cheese and alcohol and talking loud in public or staring at someone.

Alec is noticeably different from other children. He is given an electronic playmate at the age of 5 because children do not interact with other children due to germs and such.
Ron Arden
I was very confused in the begging of this book as it sorted through numerous characters, but it really began to move once the main character, Alec Checkerfield, went to London. It seems that Alec is slated to become the 7th Earl of Finsbury in England in the 24 century and has been abandoned by his parents to a wonderful estate. Alec is a very gifted child who has amazing potential in cyberscience. Because of this, he frees an AI cyberspace plaything that he dubs Captain Morgan, because he like ...more
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 'Company' stories all deal with the idea that, in the 24th century, a company learns how to send people back in time. To creat agents for itself, it takes children of a part time period and turns them into immortal cyborgs, who work for them on missions such as saving 'lost' artworks and extinct species, hiding them safely so that they can be 'rediscovered' in the 24th century.
It's all very noble on the face of it, but as time goes on, the Company's motivations and methods begin to seem more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mendoza, imprisoned alone billions of years in the past, is suddenly and unexpectedly visited by someone who looks a lot like not one but two other men she loved and lost under various violent and traumatic circumstances and despite knowing that history has every chance of repeating, she falls for him all over again, and even advises him on various ways of carrying on his time jaunt without dying. But how does this mysterious third iteration of something even a immortal time-travelling preservat ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been staggering my Company reads, because I’m all too quickly running out of them!

The Life of the World to Come is book number five out of a total of nine. Four more books! Just four! What else will I read when I’m done (ok that is a silly question, for there is so much more to read, even by the wonderful late Kage Baker herself).

Let’s have a quick look at that cover, shall we? Now that is an example of a really bad one. I would never pick up a book with a cover like that! It’s rather chees
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
D.L. Morrese
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel, which I think is the fifth in Kage Baker’s “Company” series (not counting a collection of short stories), follows the adventures of Alec Checkerfield. a hybridized human created by the Company for purposes that remained unknown, by him or the reader, until now. This selection is primarily about Alec’s search for who and what he is, aided by his AI companion, Captain Morgan. That he, or more accurately, one of his previous clones was something different was suggested in the first Comp ...more
Lady Knight
This book of "The Company" series takes a departure from the usual characters and instead focuses on Alec Checkerfield, the third installment of Mendoza's lover. Mendoza is still being held prisoner in the Back-Way-Back when Alec, after stealing a Company time shuttle, comes crashing down in her corn field. Shocked and amazed, Mendoza nurses her erstwhile lover back to health and then gives him a crash course on Dr. Zeus. When he returns to the future, he finds that not only is she more than she ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still fun, but by now this feels almost like a different series. In some ways, this installment feels like "cracky" AU fanfic based on the earlier books. Nothing wrong with that, btw - I love that kind of thing, really. It's just a bit of a shift in the feel of the series. Though really, if there's one thing all the books in this series have in common, it's frequent, radical shifts in tone and mood.
Some of the satire here doesn't quite work (for me, at least), and significant parts of Baker's 24
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2010
Book #5 in the Company series is way more fun than I thought it was going to be after I realized it focuses on the third incarnation of Mendoza's doomed lover. While the last book piled on question after question, this book finally provided tons of answers while still leaving plenty of mystery to look forward to.

Nicholas/Edward/Alec reminded me a bit of Dawn from Buffy; at first their existence requires a suspension of disbelief, but then it's revealed that they serve an important purpose that w
Brian Rogers
So far this was my least favorite of the Company books. I just don't find Alec nearly as compelling a character as the other viewpoint characters, and the world that could have produced the Company (IMO) doesn't match with the world that Baker describes the Company actually coming from. That cognitive dissonance - that the secret conspiracy of time travelling plutocrat royalists constructs a society where everyone forgets how to make Vegan food taste good and gives up their coffee - ends up bein ...more
While not as quickly-paced as "The Graveyard Game", this book reveals the major mystery at the heart of The Company Series. I started reading the series after hearing "The Likely Lad" on the Starship Sofa and enjoy Alec as a narrator, just not as much as Lewis. We finally discover why Mendoza has her odd taste in men and Nicholas finally seems decent, but it is really only in comparison to Edward. Alec is the best of the lot. I wonder if their persuasive abilities meant they were chrome generato ...more
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fifth book in The Company series.

I had my trepidations at first when hearing that the main protagonist of "The Life of the World to Come" was neither Mendoza nor Joseph (the only two 'leads' of this series so far). Instead, it would have been of a (technically) brand new character of Alec Checkerfield, the third 'incarnation' of Nicholas Harpole (from "The Garden of Iden") and Edward Alton Bell-Fairfax (from "Mendoza in Hollywood").

However, after completing the book (in one night), I'd hav
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book today. I'm totally hooked into the series. I'd have gone nuts if I was reading these books as they came out. Where Book 4 would have been difficult to read as a stand alone book, this one would have been impossible. I know because as I read it I realized that I had tried to read it before I knew about the series.

The first time I read the book I was pulled into the story about Alex, and also the stories about the three men trying so hard to reenact the 20th Century. But none
Helge Moulding
The Company is a shady organization with the ability to travel through time. These stories concern they mayhem they wreak wherever they go.

"The Life of the World to Come" is book five in the series. It's actually quite readable stand-alone, which I did. In spite of the awful title, quite a good story. A bit of a slow start, but Baker is fun to read so it's not a problem. It concerns Alec, the seventh Earl of Finsbury, who is in fact a genetically engineered not-quite-human created by the Company
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely a filler book, but I liked it because it answered so many unanswered questions raised by the earlier books in the series: I found out why they were warehousing the Enforcers, and why an apparently mortal man shows up more than once (as opposed to the regular immortals created by the Company). Lots more details pop up about the future society, also, where there are regulations about everything, and people can be hospitalized for very small infractions. I think the series needed ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fifth entry in The Company sci-fi/time travel series, in which the Botanist Mendoza begins the book as a prisoner of Dr Zeus (and Company) in prehistoric times on a deserted island. When suddenly a visitor from the future, Alec Checkerfield, plops through the ether onto her island and she saves him from death by defusing the bomb that the Company has placed in his time-travel shuttle. After a brief encounter between the two, the book then leaves Mendoza behind and concentrates on Alec, from his ...more
In this installment of Baker's "company" novels, the Botanist Mendoza once again encounters a man she's loved and seen killed twice before. This time, she's serving out a 150,000 year sentence on deserted Catalina Island off the coast of what will one day become Southern California, when her mystery man appears in a stolen time shuttle and plows into her cornfield. The novel answers many questions about this mystery man's origins and purpose, but leaves us still hungering for the final end to th ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories
  • Cagebird (Warchild #3)
  • Probability Moon (Probability, #1)
  • Hunted (League of Peoples, #4)
  • Crystal Dragon (The Great Migration Duology, #2; Liaden Universe, #2)
  • Recursion (AI Trilogy #1)
  • This Alien Shore
  • Sideshow (Arbai, #3)
  • Ascendant Sun (Saga of the Skolian Empire, #5)
  • The Falling Woman
  • California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It
  • Testament, Vol. 1: Akedah
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection
  • Hidden in Sight (Web Shifters, # 3)
  • Hammered (Jenny Casey, #1)
  • The White Tyger (Princess of Roumania, #3)
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 Children of the Company (The Company, #6)
  • The Machine's Child (The Company, #7)
  • The Sons of Heaven (The Company, #8)
  • The Empress of Mars
  • Not Less Than Gods
  • In the Company of Thieves
“It was suitably like limbo to depress the spirits of an ordinary man, let alone one with Alec's problems.” 1 likes
More quotes…