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Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers

(The Company #4.5)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  904 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Is it possible to interfere with history in a moral way, especially if profit is the primary motivation for doing so? Is it possible to sustain any ethical standards at all when handed what amounts to unlimited power? These and other shadowy questions are raised in this book, the unofficial history of Dr Zeus, Inc -- known to its employees simply as the Company. This colle ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Golden Gryphon Press
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mark monday
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable collection of short stories that fills out the time-traveling, mystery-laden world of The Company. Written in Baker's breezy, casual, and very charming style with trace notes of the sorrow, loss, and tragedies to come.

One amusing thing I noticed: Kage Baker was a Grouchy Old Man! She just could not stand a world of progressive liberalism that checks and attacks the things she took for granted in her life: enjoying competition and other potentially violent things; smoking and drinkin
Kaethe Douglas
January 1, 2003

Individual stories about various characters from the Company series, mucking about in time. Great fun.


February 4, 2015

I don't really have a lot to add. Except that reading the whole series together, back to back, in order, makes for a much richer, more pleasurable, and more nuanced appreciation. As clever as the setup and the handling of it is, though, "great fun" remains the series' greatest strength.

Library copy.
Jamie Collins
This is a nice collection of short stories set in Baker's The Company universe. It would serve as a pretty good introduction to the series.

As with the novels, my favorite stories are the ones which depict the immortal operatives doing their routine work of preserving and acquiring significant historical objects. I find this much more interesting than the larger plot of the series, which involves far-reaching, sinister conspiracies.

My favorites were:
"Noble Mold": Joseph and Mendoza in 19th-centur
D.L. Morrese
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection contains fourteen short stories set in Kage Baker’s world of time traveling cyborgs and the mysterious Company. I can add little to previous reviews other than to say that these tales provide additional detail into some of the cyborg characters from her other books. It also introduces young Alec Checkerfield, who bears a striking resemblance to two human men the Cyborg Mendoza was well acquainted with in previous novels. Alec is a tall lad of remarkable capabilities who hangs out ...more
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000, 2001, 2015, j-k-potter, bc-sc
♦ "Noble Mold" re-read 8/2/2015
♦ "Smart Alec" read 5/15/2001
Facts Relating to the Arrest of Dr. Kalugin
Old Flat Top
The Dust Enclosed Here
The Literary Agent
Lemuria Will Rise!
The Wreck of the "Gladstone"
Monster Story
"Studio Dick Drowns Near Malibu" 12-30-2000 re-read 8/2/2015
The Likely Lad
The Queen in Yellow
The Hotel at Harlan's Landing
Peter Tillman
Reread planned.

Marty Halpern's comments:
He was Baker's editor for the anthology, and her friend.

From his tribute:
"Ah, Kage, I am so sorry... I expected so many more Company stories from you, so many more lunches and dinners together, and I had especially hoped that you and I would have an opportunity to work together again, at least once more."
Tom Loock
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, history, collection
A wonderful collection of 'Company'-stories, mostly previously published in 'ASIMOV'S SF Magazine' with 2 originals.
Absolute gems are: 'The Dust Enclosed Here', 'The Literary Agent', 'Hanuman' (my first intro to this fascinating character - and I'd been worried it would be another semi-boring botanical story) and the previously unpublished Egyptian romp'The Queen in Yellow'.
Bonus: Nothing really disappointing here.
Brenda (aka Gramma)
quote from The Hotel at Harlan's Landing:
"…some shelter in out of the black night, and how the war for power over the Earth is going.
Because that’s what it is, see. I’m not crazy, honey. It’s all there in the Bible. For some have entertained angels unawares, but some folks get let in on their secrets, you follow me? And it isn’t a comforting thing to know the truth about angels."
Ray Francis
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This set of short stories moves The Company saga along in some important ways and leaves me eager to read the next novel. Joseph, Budu, Mendoza, Lewis, and many other characters seen in the novels take pleasing turns in this set.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Kage Baker's series, The Company. This is a mostly fun collection of short stories about the various immortal cyborg operatives of The Company. ...more
Latest re-read: September 2019.

THREE STARS: I can see myself re-reading a few stories in future, but not most. I believe I've only read this book once before, and I can see why.

"4.5" is a great number value for this book in the series, because it really doesn't belong anywhere. Except, at the same time, it's vital to understanding the books going forward -- which just seems like poor planning in hindsight.

A collection of short stories by Baker. Arguably short stories are where she's at top form
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely excellent colletion of Kage Baker's short stories regarding 'The Company.' Three of these were not published previously, and all of them include essential(?) clues and backstory regarding the Company and its mysterious, shadowy projects which interweave the entirety of human history.

Absolutely a must-read for anyone who's read any of the Company books - or a good introduction to the series.

I'm quoting Wikipedia for the contents summary, cause I'm lazy:
The stories in this vo
Jeremy Preacher
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
The Company short stories are my favorites, and this collection is a good sampling. At least one of them - and I think three or four - later became chunks of the novels, which always seem awfully episodic for just that reason. But they're great as individual shorts. Lewis's appearance in "The Queen in Yellow" is delightful (Lewis is my favorite) and both "Smart Alec" and "A Likely Lad" are fantastic Alec stories as well. ("Monster Story", I felt, was a touch too didactic to be perfect. It's wher ...more
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it

This collection brings together the early Company stories in one volume for the first time with three previously unpublished works, including "The Queen in Yellow," written exclusively for this compilation. In these tales sci-fi fans follow the secret activities of the Company's field agents—once human, now centuries-old time-traveling immortal cyborgs—as they attempt to retrieve history's lost treasures. Botanist Mendoza's search for the rare hallucinogenic Black Elysium grape in 1844 S

Warren Rochelle
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A strange and curious collections of tales about the activities of the field agents of the Company, or Dr. Zeus, Inc., immortal cyborgs, who are engaged in such missions as searching for the "rare hallucinogenic Black Elysium grape, checking in on the ill-health of Robert Louis Stevenson, to recovering priceless literary artifacts from a sarcophagus in 1914 Egypt. To quote the book jacket, 'Is it possible to interfere with History in a moral way, especially if profit is the primary motivation fo ...more
Kathy Piselli
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Company-themed short stories with Baker's wonderful double entendres, fun characters, plotlines that are like movie scripts. Her love for Hollywood, for natural California, and for a healthy skepticism always shine through. I love the "Angel of Death by Drowning" (in the story "Studio Dick Drowns Near Malibu"), how she uses her Company stories to resurrect the real life archaeologist Flinders Petrie in his pink underwear ("The Queen in Yellow"), and Mother Nature's one-fingered salute ("Lemuria ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is the perfect combination of the two best things in the whole world: Kage Baker's short stories and her Company series. Ms. Baker does the *perfect* short story and it's even more magical when the plot evolves around her Company characters. We've got some Joseph stories and Lewis stories and (my favorite) Mendoza stories, plus we get to meet some new characters. This one is integral to the series as it also introduces us to Alec Checkerfield. If you're plowing through the whole Compan ...more
Elaine Nelson
Apr 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, history, fiction
I saw a reference to this book when I was reading about Baker's recent death, and I didn't think I'd read it. Turns out, once I started on the stories, that I had, but it had been a long time, and I liked it enough to read it again.

Enjoyable collection of stories from Baker's "Company" setting, with a variety of settings (altho lots of California), characters, and time periods. If I remember correctly, this is the volume that introduced me to Alec.

As always, love her narrative style(s), although
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Projects, White Knights (9/10)
As I said in my review of "Dreams Made Flesh", I'm not really much of a reader of short stories. However, I do enjoy them when they tell tales in a universe with which I am familiar. The author doesn't need to spend time on set up and being clever and can just get on with telling the tale. This is a most enjoyable collection of Company stories that I read through in three days - an indication of quality indeed for me. It fills in a lot of interesting bits and
Brian Rogers
This was a solid work, but as with all short story collections it suffers from some of the works being weaker than the others. I find Baker's 24th century a somewhat bland 'evil liberal' dystopia as far as evil liberal dystopias go, but she needed to have the future of the Company be some sort of dystopia and this option was better than most. Baker excels when she has time to sit down and really tell you a story in the character's voice and the short form just doesn't work as well as her novels. ...more
I remember a while ago that someone on goodreads wrote that Kage Baker's short stories are better than her novels. I have to agree. Some of these stories--"Old Flat Top," "Monster Story," "Hanuman," "The Dust Enclosed Here," and the "Likely Lad"--are just wonderful. I would love to see Shakespeare's play set on the moon. "Lemuria Will Rise!" and "Studio Dick Drowns near Malibu" give a wonderful sense of place for their real-life locations in California. I now want to go to Jade Cove one day. The ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by:
Having finished the last of the company novels, The Sons Of Heaven, before I got this one read, I have to say that it in no way diminished my enjoyment of this story collection. I skipped through the Alec Checkerfield chapters, but immensely enjoyed all the other stories. It's gotten to the point that everything I read of Kage Baker's makes me sad about losing such a great talent. ...more
Jay Goemmer
Black Projects, White Knights (2002) by Kage Baker.

A short story collection that offers insight to various "Company" characters we've encountered before. My favorite supporting character was a parrot who only appeared for a few pages. Baker's character Alec shows up in three short stories later incorporated into the novel _The Life of the World to Come_ (2004).

Overall, a nice addition to Baker's "Company" saga, nicely flavored with differing narrative styles for each of the characters.

(July 200
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I kept thinking that I'd read these stories before but, if so, I couldn't remember a thing about them. And, while they were interesting enough while reading them, I kept wondering what the point of them was. Were they supposedly illustrating some aspect of human character? Perhaps the conundrum of time travel was being explicated. Or maybe it was the chasm between cyborgs and humans we were meant to dive into. It was probably something I haven't thought of, but whatever the point may have been, ...more
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A++++++ Awesome short story collection! In my current new love affair with Kage Baker, I almost feel like her short stories are even better than the books. And, since they all take place in the Company world and are part of that canon, you don't need to plunge into a whole new setting/characters/everything with each story. In fact most of the main characters are already ones we know and love. After reading this book I fear I will have to track down her more rare short story collections. ...more
Lady Knight
This is a great collection of short stories. The stories all deal with Dr. Zeus Inc. and even the introductory forward is a treat to read! These 14 stories are a "Company" lover's dream come true as they deal with a lot of the agents we've heard of in the other novels, but are never really fleshed out. They also contain more insights into well-loved characters like Mendoza, Joseph, Alec, and Lewis. ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I just loved this collection of Company short stories from Kage Baker. I really think I love some of her peripheral characters the best. Mendoza just spends so much time being mad at everything, which gets boring. Lots of fun little links to the main novels too, and I think most or all of them could stand alright on their own. Happy to read more Baker but sad that I'm plowing through her work so fast! ...more
Jes. Cavanaugh
Feb 19, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have read the other books in the series.
Shelves: library-books
This was not a book for me. Apparently, it's background stories for a series I have never read, let alone heard of. I picked it up because it was one of the "featured" books on the library shelf. I strongly discourage people from highlighting books that are inside of a series. If you really want to highlight the series or the writer, start with book 1. ...more
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I don't usually like short stories, these are mostly vignettes of characters we already know from previous books - that familiarity made a huge difference for me, I think. Sometimes it was hard to figure out who the narrator in a new story was going to be. I mostly liked these, and it whetted my appetite for the next novel. ...more
Stuart Dean
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of Company short stories. Stories with Joshua, Lewis, and even one with Mendoza where she is called out on her bitchiness by a talking monkey. The best parts are the Alec Checkerfield stories, which I had totally not made the connection to the Company storyline when I first read them in Asimov's. Good stuff. ...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

Other books in the series

The Company (1 - 10 of 13 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 Machine's Child (The Company, #7)
  • The Sons of Heaven (The Company, #8)
  • Not Less Than Gods
  • In the Company of Thieves

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