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The Machine's Child

(The Company #7)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,226 ratings  ·  83 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 ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Tor Books (first published 2006)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,226 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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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 rated it it was ok
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
Kaethe Douglas
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
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, science-fiction
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
Mar 10, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Ron Henry
May 05, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
a great conceit, but irritating after a while. this is one of those books you flip through for plot alone.
Jenny Yates
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was fun, but it’s not quite up to the standard of the first four books in this series.

So Mendoza has been rescued, which is great. And in this book, she and Alec sail all over (through time, as well as space) in his pirate ship, looking for bits of his DNA so they can make him immortal too. They have lots of adventures along the way, and I enjoy the world that Kage Baker has created, with its intricate layers of mortals and immortals, all interacting without always realizing it. But there
Gregory Hodkgins
Mendoza’s Back in a fury of blue flame

Absolutely great Company novel. The intriguing search for Mendoza by Joseph and Alec flits through time and space and ends in a spectacular fight in the Caribbean, home to pirates. Lots of suspense and action in this one as we get closer and closer to the year of 2355 when the lights go out for The Company. The last few pages are quite exciting and surprising. Can’t wait to get to the next in the series.
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
All the layers that author Kage Baker has built up in her Company series are starting to unpeel, or maybe it’s better to say all the threads she has woven into the tapestry that is The Company series are finally making a complete scene—or else they are all unraveling. What with all the time travel and characters (mortal, immortal, and recombinant) going rogue, it’s a bit hard to tell sometimes. But really, the series is building to a climax and this installment moves the plot along smartly.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I'll admit that these books are blending together, and I'm becoming impatient to find out what happens in the year 2355. The world keeps expanding, and I'm having trouble remembering what I need to, but still along for the ride.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is brilliant as usual, but this series is very intricately plotted, and I had great difficulty remembering who all the characters were and what they had done and why. A plot synopsis of the previous books at the beginning would have been very useful.
love how everything is starting to tie back together
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, romance
Love the series as a whole, but this is a pretty weak installment.
More of Baker's "magic", all smoke and mirrors and science. Trip through time with the multiple personality Alec Checkerfield and his own personal immortal, Mendoza.
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
REREAD #1: 27 September 2018 - 30 September 2018 (9/10)

Pretty much everything I said last time, although on this read I've knocked off a point for the hazy consent issue that is the boys and the Captain choosing to keep lying to Mendoza. I get why they did it, but it's still decidedly blurred, especially in the current #metoo climate.

ORIGINAL READ: 2 August 2007 - 4 August 2007 (10/10)

Mendoza was banished long ago, to a prison lost in time where rebellious immortals are "dealt with." Now her pas
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
Molly G
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was ok
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it liked it
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 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Althea Ann
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it liked it
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
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.)
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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 Sons of Heaven (The Company, #8)
  • Not Less Than Gods
  • In the Company of Thieves
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne's