Kage Baker was always interested in peculiar appearances and disappearances. She read UFO reports with avid disbelief – there was never enough – or even halfway logical – proof for her, but the mystery was fun. She wondered what happened at the Library of Alexandria, of which some fabled but un-provenenced volumes have turned up at intervals since its destruction. She wondered about OOPARTS – the nails, live frogs, Energizer batteries, gold and silver jewelry and assorted tools that show up in ancient solid rocks.
Where did Frances Bacon get that metallic talking head? Who thought up the Antikythera Mechanism? Elizabeth I’s astrologer, Dr. John Dee, possessed a couple of crystals in which he foresaw the future – they were said to have been more-or-less acquired from thin air. Kage lusted after them, and really wanted to know what they were.
Where did Lazarus species go before they were found again? She collected all those articles about plants and animals discovered in hidden canyons and dubious woods, and speculated on the questions. Who would even care about the goblin shark or the New Guinea Big-eared Bat? And why? It was her casual collection of such that finally coalesced into The Company one morning over the breakfast table: she decided someone had to be responsible for all this activity.
It started with animals, but before long it was anything that had vanished and been found again: plants. Music. Manuscripts. People, even. Being Kage, there had to be a method and a motive for saving all of them – hence the for-profit ethos of the Company, and their ruthless recruitment methods.
Many readers, especially our friends, sent notes and URLs and article to Kage, excitedly pointing out the re-discovery of unique mammals and weird insects. Most of them still do, too. Thank you, all of you! I file every one in Kage’s archives, and I still hope to use them in something.
In the meanwhile, I continue look for these things myself. They are everywhere. And not just rescued objects, but things Kage speculated about appearing in the future. That’s something all science fiction writers look forward to happening – or dread, depending on what it is they are predicting. A lot of people, for instance, were unhappy when the USA started exploding actual nuclear devices, although writers had described the methods several places already. They’d have been more unhappy if it had set the atmosphere on fire – which was one of the disasters predicted – but, of course, it didn’t. It hasn’t proved to be good for anyone, but at least the atmosphere hasn’t burned yet. It’s apparently going to take climate change to do that.
In the merry meanwhile – there is water on Mars, just as Kage speculated. The heart of Mars is not cold, but still displays a faint, banked heat, ditto. Strange plagues are having their way with humankind; Kage would not have liked that, but she certainly would not be blaming Wuhan Province in China.Maybe it would be sort of comforting to suspect cyborg corporate evil of the deed.
On a lighter note, computers are now so small and versatile that they are can basically be regarded as the Bukes Kage wrote into her stories. And if you find itty tiny keyboards a pain to use, someone has now come up with a new kind of keyboard. Check out this link: https://tinyurl.com/wdpyph8fhttps://tinyurl.com/wdpyph8f It’s a button-ball, just like Alex uses!
People are cyborging themselves in various ways – especially to let themselves use the Internet more intimately. Or control prosthetics, whatever function you most desperately desire … Several manufacturers now make spectacles that will take photos, record sound and videos (Kestrel, Snap Inc.), play videos or television (Facebook, and the venerable Ray Ban). And of course Windows and Google are still out there available as recording glasses, if you want to risk the excitement of getting your lights punched out. Can ring-holos be far away?
Pandas have had a population explosion in 2021. Two dozen of the little buggers were born in sanctuaries last year, cocking black-masked snooks at extinction with their false thumbs. Monarch butterflies have inexplicably flocked to the California Central Coast in hundreds of thousands, when last year they were almost unseen in their usual haunts.Where the hell did they all come from? Why did they leave, and what brought them back?
In the last couple of decades: original scores by Holst were discovered in a New Zealand library – where he did not live. One by Rachmaninov was found in a mail bag. A second, different Vivaldi opera of “Orlando Furioso” was located; works by Brahms, Mozart and Bach have all been found in odd places, and authenticated. Master tapes from Bob Marley recording sessions were found in the water-logged basement of am abandoned London hotel. And 600 lost recordings from a BBC Radio show of Alistair Cooke’s were found in, of all things, a muck-spreader in a diary farm shed in Warwickshire.
This kind of stuff happens all the time.
Even the poster-child of extinct birds, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, although it has been officially declared extinct by the US government, is suspected of being alive and well – in Cuba. Which is almost as inaccessible as a muck-spreader in Warwickshire, I guess.
All these speculations – and there are gazillions more, in Kage’s notes and my aging head – may one day soon matter. For one thing, I persist in trying to sell something new; and while my health has been damnably bad this last year, I am getting better. I haven’t even caught Covid!
And there is a very good chance that AMC is going to commit to making a series of The Company stories. Nothing is signed yet, but the almost-deal is looking good. They may even want me as a consultant. There is no guarantee, of course, that AMC will not make a pig’s eat out of the series (Television does that a lot. Usually, even) but Kage’s name would be OUT THERE. And all her stories would still be safe and sound on our shelves, Dear Readers, in printed versions that cannot be diluted, smudged, disregarded or violated.
Kage always called this the Gypsy Horse Traders’ method of publication.
Cross your fingers, Dear Readers, and hope the horse is sold … and comes trotting back to its home stable in a night or two. That’s the way to sell something.