June 10th

Kage Baker was born on June 10, 1952. She would have been 61 years old today.

I don’t think she would have liked it.

No question, she’d have been glad to be alive! That would have meant she’d beaten the cancer. By now, her hair would have been growing back; she’d still be skinny, from the surgeries and therapies. God He knows, she wanted to live. I just don’t think she’d have been best pleased at being 61. She was never flattered by those letters from AARP that we all start getting when we turn 50 years old.

But she’d have found ways to have fun with it. Assuming the mantle of age and wisdom would have been fun. She’d have had the chance to make a Granny Weatherwax costume, and she’d have looked damn convincing in it. She would have been able to see her eldest niece, Katie, following the family trade of painting; she’d have cheered the middle niece, Anne, in graduating with her degree in law. And she’d be proudly watching the youngest, Emma, as she prepared for the entrance exam for West Point and going on to another family tradition of service: the first girl to do so.

And there are all our friends’ kids, too, to watch grow. She’d enjoy watching her namesake, Alexander Kage – who just yestreday learned how to climb over the baby gates and made a successful escape into his parents’ garden through the dog door. She would be so proud of Patrick and Garrett for making Eagle Scout, and so happily impressed with Meagan, who is now making art with her camera, her pencils, her paintbrushes …

Kage would  have had more books out, more stories written. I’m trying to take up the slack there, of course, but I think she’d rather have done it herself … on the other hand, having gotten me to finish Nell Gwynne II, Kage would probably not have let me completely off the hook. She always wanted me to write. She was convinced it would do me good.

And she was pretty much right, too. The advance from Company of Thieves, which has the new Company story “Hollywood Ikons” in it, has just paid for the transmission on the PT Cruiser getting repaired. Saved once again by a timely check from a publisher! Kage would have been absolutely smug about that.

And some interesting weirdness today, in the mail. I got an offer from a marketing company. You know, the sort that sells pens and pencils and coin purses and keychains with your business name and vitals on them, to hand out to potential clients. In my case, it would be to hand around at conventions, I guess … what they sent me was an order form for little LED flashlights, which were really pretty keen. There was a sample, too – engraved with what these folks evidently figured was my company’s name: Dr. Zeus.

Now I’ve got this teeny little flashlight, bright enough to blind someone yet small enough to conceal about one’s person. And it says Dr. Zeus. And it got here on Kage’s birthday.


So, I guess I’ll order some. I can give them away to Kage’s fans and friends, and bind everyone to the dread service of The Company. It’ll be a late birthday present from Kage, Hobbit-style, to everyone else. Pretty cool.

Happy Birthday, kiddo. Don’t think about the years. Just think how your creation is lighting the world. That really is pretty damned cool.

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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11 Responses to June 10th

  1. Neassa says:

    Hobbit birthday presents AND a Company job. Not a bad way to observe the occasion!

    Love, Neassa


  2. cate bramble says:

    I always believed Kage and I were birthday-close (same month) but now I learn there is a year and 12 days’ difference. It’s a fabulous world.

    Methinks Kage is celebrating today in a fit of whimsy, sending you Dr Zeus messages.


  3. Kate says:

    It would be just like her, to send me astoundingly obvious messages from The Great Beyond. That first torch is going on my own key chain, I do assure you.

    Cat – there’s a year and 20 days between Kage and I. And then a year and 20 days between me and Kimberly, who comes next. Yep, it’s a fabulous world.


  4. Just a quick correction for your readers: the new story in In the Company of Thieves is “Hollywood Ikons.” (Unless you’ve changed stories since I worked on the book!)


    • Kate says:

      Nope, no changes, Marty – just early onset senility with me. The working title was “Pareidolia” and I simply forgot. It’s fixed now.

      See, kids? Find a good copy editor, and he’ll even help you with things you don’t write for publication!


  5. Becky says:

    Cate’s right, I think it’s too coincidental to be a random stroke of some PR person’s whimsy to send out a gifty like that, and such a cool one, too!


  6. Athene says:

    Never when you want, only when you need. Of fond and eternal memory.


  7. Lynn says:

    Nope, Kage sent it. The company only did what it was told.

    I’m exactly a week older than Kage! I didn’t realize we were so very close in age. I’ve been thinking along the same lines, being of the same age. Life is good, AARP is annoying. However, I’m short and squat so I can’t play Granny; I’ll have to be Nanny Ogg (much more fun anyway). Kathleen, the picture of Granny Weatherwax on Wilipedia looks a bit like Kage – same long face, although I’ve never seen Kage look so grim.

    Hope the Cruiser comes out well and can’t wait to read In the Company of Thieves. And to see the magical Dr. Zeus light.


  8. Allyson says:

    When I read your posts about Kage, she comes alive for me. They’re beautiful.


  9. Miz Kizzle says:

    Happy birthday, Kage! A Dr. Zeus flashlight is almost as good as a sonic screwdriver. It’s just the sort of thing that might be in the goodie bags given out to new arrivals at New World One.


  10. Paul McCall says:

    I came along 9 days and 2 years after Kage. I spent yesterday (my 59th birthday) in a fog of not liking it and replaying the snippet of Wrath of Khan were Bones asks Kirk, “Other people have birthdays! Why are we treating yours like a funeral?”
    But that’s tangential to my reason for commenting – I’m reading the Company stories again, and as I’m an illustrator I try my best to fix definite faces onto the characters. A cheap, easy way to do that is to find actors, current and past, to fill the roles. After trying several on for Joseph I’ve settled on a young Saul Rubinek (currently Artie on WAREHOUSE 13) for Joseph and David Hyde Pierce (Niles on FRASIER) for Lewis. (Mendoza continues to elude me but for the moment I’m using Karen Gillan, without the accent.) I was wondering if Kage had anyone in mind for these characters and would it violate some authors secret act to learn who they were if such were the case.


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