Customer Reviews


3 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alec in Time
This is a book about the life and times of Alec Checkerfield, an eerily gifted boy in a time when the First World has become insufferably sanitized and sterilized, Poor Alec's been rejected by his mother, his father being a noble drunkard drinking himself in a sail around the world. But he's happy with his baby-sitters in the caribbean, till is time to go to London-and...
Published on 22 Mar. 2007 by Ventura Angelo

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Not What You Expect
This is the first full novel I've read from Baker, and I picked it up after reading a few of her short stories based on The Company in sci-fi anthologies. The story itself seems somewhat disjointed, although you can pick up the central plot elements fairly easily. After the initial couple of chapters, however, the plot takes a fairly radical turn, and leaves the...
Published on 30 July 2006 by Chris


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alec in Time, 22 Mar. 2007
By 
Ventura Angelo (Brescia, Lombardia Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a book about the life and times of Alec Checkerfield, an eerily gifted boy in a time when the First World has become insufferably sanitized and sterilized, Poor Alec's been rejected by his mother, his father being a noble drunkard drinking himself in a sail around the world. But he's happy with his baby-sitters in the caribbean, till is time to go to London-and school. Here he learns about his abilities and how put them top use: he also learns that "Your parents were so happy, then you were born", as a mad sitter tell him. We follow Alec in adult age, when he becomes a computer wizard and a very successful smuggler of goods now illegal-chocolate, tea alcohol.He's so good at his not so legal work nobody will be able to catch him as he sails around the world. But something nags him...his parents who rejected him, the strange circumstances of his birth. As Oedipus could have told him,investigating one's own origins could lead to unpleasant discoveries. So Alec learns the less than pleasant truth about his origins and in doing so he stumbles on Dr Zeus Incorporated itself, the Company who created cyborgs like Mendoza, still marooned in faraway time. Meanwhile Dr Zeus'life-plotters plot his destiny, thinking they're gods. But Alec will tackle Dr Zeus and find Mendoza on her island, with predictable and unpredictable results. Love and revenge now had set Alec against that impossibly powerful corporation, not before Alec commits a terrible mistake. And the Silence year, 3255 approaches...

One of the best novels of the series, characters sparkle and future history is brilliantly displayed. A gem of a book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wrench named Alec is thrown into the works, 20 Jan. 2005
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
Now that I'm caught up with Kage Baker's "Company" novels, waiting for the next one has been excruciating. At the beginning of December, however, The Life of the World to Come was finally published, and it was well worth the wait. Baker adds a lot more detail to the "Company" universe, telling us much more of the future than we even received in The Graveyard Game as we barrel toward the unknown event horizon of 2355, where not even Doctor Zeus Incorporated knows what happens. For any fans of the Company, rest assured that this book is well worth reading. If you're not familiar, then definitely don't start with this book. While it is understandable (for reasons I'll get into later), you'll lose a lot of the richness of the plot.
I was expecting this book to be mainly about Mendoza, and since I had not read the cover jacket, I was quite surprised when the book left her and never returned (except very briefly near the end). Instead, we get the story of Alec, who has appeared in a few Asimov's stories but who I never really knew how he fit into everything. The Life of the World to Come explains it all. Were you bothered about how Mendoza always seemed to be meeting reincarnations of her old lover? This book explains it quite rationally, making the Company seem even darker even as the scientists involved with his origin believe that they are doing good for the world.
The book does a wonderful job of explaining everything and keeps up a good pace as well. We see extended scenes of Alec while he's growing up and see how his personality is shaped by the strange, overly politically correct world that he's surrounded by, as well as the feeling that he was completely unwanted by his parents. His only true friend is the Captain, a former computer playfriend that he reprogrammed to be the ultimate artificial intelligence and now his companion in everything he does. He even goes so far as to get a cyborg implant so he can always be connected to the Captain. Mixed in with these scenes so we never get too bored by too much Alec are the scenes with the scientists. These are, at times, even better than the Alec scenes.
Rutherford is a historian that wants desperately to return to the old times. His ultimate goal is to recreate the Inklings, the writing group that Tolkein was a member of. He and his companions, Frankie Chatterji and Foxen Ellsworth-Howard have fake wine, fake tea, a fire that only their service to Dr. Zeus allows them to have (fires are against the law). They serve a couple of purposes in the book. First, they explain Alec's background so the reader knows it before Alec does, along with explaining what happened with Mendoza in the 16th century and the 19th. Secondly, they give us a little bit of insight into the company workings, or at least one side of it. When they realize that the third incarnation of what they are doing is happening in real time (contemporary to them, rather than in the past), they get an odd thrill. There's no way to know how it will turn out. It makes them nervous, too, as Alec has already become too unpredictable for them. Baker captures these scientists perfectly. They have many idiosyncrasies like a lot of scientists have and each one is truly three dimensional.
The star of the show, however, is Alec. He is a very rich character and Baker is able to fully examine him. He is damaged by the way he grew up, and he's even more damaged when he finds out the truth behind his childhood. Baker never falters in her telling of the two intertwining stories, always capturing the reader's interest and moving on to the other story just when the reader needs a break. The opening, told from Mendoza's point of view, gives us an update on how she's doing and becomes even more important when we see the same scenes from Alec's point of view later on. For not being in the book much, we find ourselves caring even more about Mendoza as she does something that leaves her in quite the precarious circumstance.
For fans of Joseph and Lewis, Mendoza's fellow immortals, I'm sorry to say they are not in this one. The way The Graveyard Game left off, that's too bad, but we must wait until the next one. Baker is slowly building up to the event in 2355, and she's ratcheting up the tension as she goes. The Life of the World to Come progresses the story a little bit, but it also fills in a lot of back detail. It's clear that Alec will play an important part and so it's imperative we get to know him first.
Both Baker's characterization and her plotting skills are on vivid display here. Do yourself a favour and pick this book up.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Not What You Expect, 30 July 2006
By 
Chris "chrisgb" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This is the first full novel I've read from Baker, and I picked it up after reading a few of her short stories based on The Company in sci-fi anthologies. The story itself seems somewhat disjointed, although you can pick up the central plot elements fairly easily. After the initial couple of chapters, however, the plot takes a fairly radical turn, and leaves the aforementioned Botanist Mendoza to concentrate on Alec, the book's main character thereon.

Initially, this is a strenuous transition, since I found it hard to become interested in the lives of most the future's inhabitants - who are seemingly bumbling, affluent, well-intentioned, leisure-obsessed and illiterate fools (they have never needed to learn to read; possibly too many parties to attend in-between). This includes 3 "influential" figures in The Company itself, who have great responsibilities (Rutherford, Chatterji and Ellsworth-Howard) and can influence the time continuum - but who are nonetheless another lot of bumbling idiots in the plot.

In all, we learn very little about The Company that hasn't already been alluded to in previous stories, and it is very much worth knowing one thing about this book - *it doesn't end*. Instead, the ending sets up the next novel. I've always felt quite cheated whenever this happens - plot synopses seldom mention this, probably because it would harm sales if the reader knew there would be an incomplete resolution to the events they're paying to read.

In all, this isn't a bad book, and spins a reasonable story, but the plot itself is nothing particularly innovative, and as I say, it doesn't actually end. It's a page turner, but not a must-read by any stretch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews