At The Movies. And Afterward…

Kage Baker was always deeply effected by films. She enjoyed the sensation. After seeing a movie she liked, she would seek out all manner of associated material – the source novel (or novelized script), the soundtrack, all the reviews she could track down on line. She would work with notable determination to expand the ambiance and environment of the film as widely as possible, so she could drown herself in it.

Even if she didn’t like a film, she was affected on a long-term basis. After we saw Time After Time (H. G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to 20th century San Francisco in his time machine; much better than it sounds), Kage was terrified. She seriously considered buying a hand gun, before finally admitting that she herself would have to wield it – me being half blind and with a rotten aim – and that our owning a gun would be more dangerous than having the Ripper for our gardener. In the meantime, Kage read all the H. G Wells she had ignored over the years – because, though she was totally freaked by the movie, she loved the atmosphere.

When a movie had action toys, she had to have her favourite characters; especially Disney films, of course: a hulking miniature of Shan Yu from Mulan. Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast. Poseiden from The Little Mermaid. The cyborg John Silver from Treasure Planet. They all lived on her desk for years. And the 18-inch-high, motion-activated Captain Jack Sparrow on her dresser unnerved guests to her bedroom for ages.

Sound tracks were so important to her that we often stopped and got the CD (or whatever format was current that year) on the way home from the movie. Then Kage could just sink into a pool of movie-ness, and bliss out. When she could also surf associated sites on the Interwebs, she was as happy as if she were plugged into the Library of Alexandria.

She was never really willing to have a movie she liked end, you see. It’s the same response that led her to write more of her most beloved books when she was a child. Kage hated to let a story stop. Ultimately, she learned that telling her own was more fun that riffing off someone else’s. But even then, there was more to every book she wrote than was actually published. Most of them are half again as long, with scenes deleted or written afterward; the literary equivalent of gag reels and blooper films. Do other author’s write fanfic of their own works? I have no idea, but Kage did. Ruthless demented satires, usually, that left me howling with laughter.

A bit of that survives in Lewis’ ghastly science fiction novel. Kage came up with most of it while drinking many, many margaritas with blue plastic dolphins in them holding maraschino cherries.¬† On Catalina Island. While wearing a crown made of balloons … ah, the insane memories.

Me, I just got back from seeing Contagion. Good, scary, grim flick. As the credits rolled away, Kimberly turned to me and said solemnly, “We’ve got to lay in more disaster supplies at home.”

I feel grateful that all Kimberly wants is a few more cans of Spam. Kage would have been agitating for hazmat suits.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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13 Responses to At The Movies. And Afterward…

  1. Jane says:

    Just scared my cats into their next life when I laughed outloud, reading that last comment! You continue to paint such vivid images, Kate, that I can see you both and smile!

  2. Widdershins says:

    I always want to know more too. I watch the ‘bonus features’ of any DVD I rent/buy, the ‘making of …’ specials, and have been known to purchase the ‘soundtrack of …’ as well.

    Like Kage I suspect that I didn’t want the story to end either … That’s why I write series!

  3. Margaret says:

    May we hope you’ll emulate these film directors who keep bringing out newer and even-more revised verions of their films? (Blade Runner and Star Wars come to mind.) What I really want, since I read the above, is the Revised Complete Company Novels and Stories, including making-of anecdotes, blooper reels, and out-takes. Pleasepleaseplease…

    Then I can start pining for the Revised Updated Lord Ermenwyr complete with etc.

    • Kara says:

      Oh, second’d! I’ve always wanted to see an annotated version of the Company novels – ’cause for every cool history / film / literary reference I get, I’m sure I’m missing about a thousand others.

  4. Tom says:

    Uhhh . . . hold the phone. You say there’s a novel with Lewis as protag??

  5. Kate says:

    Tom – no. There are references, and even horrible excerpts from, Lewis’s really bad novelization of Edward’s life. They include science fiction scenes set in some hysterically bad space opera future. They’re really pretty terrible, completely on purpose … and Kage wrote a lot more of them than made it into the published book. It’s in The Graveyard Game, starting on page 247 in most copies.

  6. Tom says:

    Shucky-darns, shucky-durn-darns.

  7. Kate says:

    Margaret – the nature of Lord Ermenwyr is such that Kage usually went ahead and published the outtakes.She never did know in advance just what that little man was going to do.

  8. Widdershins says:

    “Revised Complete Company Novels and Stories, including making-of anecdotes, blooper reels, and out-takes. Pleasepleaseplease‚Ķ”

    … seconded and thirded …

  9. Kathy Malloy says:

    Spam.Not the computer kind, but that ground up pink stuff. Haven’t thought of it, much less tasted it, since the very old days at Camp Mariastella.I think if aliens invade, I would first hide from the Spam and then from the alien hoardes.

  10. Kate says:

    Oooh, lovely Camp Mariastella! Where I spent two weeks on perpetual Captain’s Mast … two years in a row. I was not cut out for summer camp, I fear. They ran out of demerits, for me. And since none of the things I did was technically illegal – just very peculiar – they couldn’t kick me out or send me home. Good times, good times.

  11. Kate says:

    PS to Kathy – Spam is yummy. I eat it still, usually in sarnies or cut up into Kraft Mac N’Cheese. It’s in all my survival kits.

  12. Margaret says:

    Quite a handful, that Lord Ermenwyr – Nursie Balnshik definitely didn’t have an easy job. (Why is a warped version of A Policeman’s Lot Is Not an ‘Appy One forming in my brain?)

    On Kage:Her Page, there was mention of a Company concordance. Is it still a work in progress? That might partially content those of us who want to know all of the possible ramifications of the Company story.

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