Not Bad, For A Start

Kage Baker‘s favourite season was summer. It was the time of year when she was least likely to be confined to the house, at school or cold. Days were long, plums were in season, rum drinks grew on every  tree – or could be made to do so, when the wind blew the right direction from Faerie Land.

If the wind was not cooperative, we’d set up the tropical standing fan in the living room (the fan boasted vanes and a stand decorated with bronzen palm fronds), and make our own damned breeze. Kage changed to white silk pajama tops and pinned all her head on top of her head: which kept her cool and also amused the bird, who liked to lie between her shoulders and the back of her chair and pull bobby pins out.

She had a variety of interesting martini glasses, and glass swizzle sticks decorated with everything from pineapples to dolphins to smiling skulls. We were always running out of ice because Kage hated ice cube trays, and seldom realized she was getting near the bottom of the latest bag of ice. But in a beach town, there are ice machines in every motel parking lot, all the gas stations, and the 7-11 down the block … so she never ran out for long.

The last few summers here in our natal city of Los Angeles have been – well, pretty ghastly. Global warming has been manifesting here as triple digit heat and years-long drought: the Permian Extinction Redux, I think, will start here in Southern California. But! Weather being inconstant, and climate being freaking insane, we do get some unexpected relief. It actually rained this winter, and the month of June has mostly been merely warm and grey.

It’s normal weather for L.A. in June. True, fires are starting up every few days just about everywhere, but so far they’ve been successfully put out. We’ve had but a week or so of deadly heat, and not much at all where I live: plus, the house is well-cooled and protected, and so far, it’s not been too bad. There’s a good chance this will not be another year where the heat gauge downtown melts.

Plus, I’ve still got some stories out being considered. And, out of the blue last week, Tachyon Publications sent me 2 recent (!!!) positive reviews on Kage’s only juvenile work: The Hotel Under the Sand. You may read them at the links below, Dear Readers, if you are interested:

With two positive reviews done so many years after the original publication, Tachyon feels there is something good there. They mean to push the book again, try to get a larger following; everyone who has read it has liked it. I have a tear-jerker letter file from people who wrote to Kage about it, praising it and thanking her; most of them came in during her last few months alive, and they all contributed to her dying in peace. God bless all those readers …

I think we may even try angling for some movie interest on this one. Heroines are cool. And if any of you Dear Readers do go check out these reviews, give a gander at what Tachyon is offering at the moment. They are an excellent house and simply amazing people, well worth anyone’s time.

My struggles with Medicaid, Medicare and L.A. Care continue, but progress is being made. Slowly. The new diabetes medication my doctor ordered for me was denied, and the side effects from what he can prescribe gave me vertigo for 2 weeks. I have been walking round the house at a slant, clinging to the furniture: the Author As Fruit Bat. I haven’t dared drive and I could barely type. On top of which, the meds they will cover are doing little to reduce my blood sugar, which has taken off to the stratosphere to hobnob with its fellow wizards.

But! (Again) Time is still my friend, at least a little. The side effects are wearing off, so I no longer walk at a tilt, and I am getting a reference to an endocrinologist. That is someone who should be able to get me on more effective drugs, with fewer effective side effects. Something mild and manageable, you know, like ass’s ears or glowing in the dark.

So things are looking up. There are stone fruits everywhere. The roses are blooming. I can kind of write again. I got new glasses and they work exquisitely. There is Chinese food for dinner.

Best of all, it’s summer. No matter what the world in general is doing on its way to Hell – throwing trash on the banks of the River Styx, I suspect, and yelling rude things at the attendant demons – summer cannot be denied.

And there, I hope, we are all happy.


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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3 Responses to Not Bad, For A Start

  1. Allison Hansen says:

    I got so enthused about the recent interest in The Hotel Under the Sand that I got out my copy and re read it last night. Emma is the perfect little heroine. Like Alice, like Dorothy, like Maria Merryweather (The Little White Horse) “brave and clever.”
    A little dash of melancholy but funny funny too. Some things just make me howl, in particular, Mr. Eleutherios and his ladies complaining “about the sea being too loud” after pulling an allnighter i with Captain Doubloon in the hotel’s bar drinking punch.
    I think of the beginning scenes when Emma comes accross the little froglets and how enchanting and vivd and beautiful the descriptions are… the whole story just begs to be an animated film. Kage drew it as pretty as a picture, gem tones, her pen as colorful as any paint brush. Saw the wonderful review by Dianna Wynne Jones in the front pages andhow amazing if The Hotel Under the Sand could animated by Studio Ghibli like Howl’s, or the exquisite Cartoon Saloon who did Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells.

    Anyways, very happy to hear about this news and really loved reading the book again.


    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Allison – not only for your kind comments, but for that wonderful link. I think Studio Ghibli would be great, too; and Kage loved them. She walked on air for days over that review by Dianna Wynne Jones … it really is a wonderful book.


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