Kage Baker

Many of you know that writer Kage Baker has been fighting against cancer in the last several weeks and months. To that end, the Green Man Review has just posted the following note from Kage’s sister:

Kage’s doctor has informed us she has reached the end of useful treatment. The cancer has slowed, but not stopped. It has continued to spread at an unnatural speed through her brain, her lungs and – now – reappeared in her abdomen. It is probably a matter of a few weeks, at most.

Kage has fought very hard, but this is just too aggressive and mean. She’s very, very tired now, and ready for her Long Sleep. She’s not afraid.

We’ve been in a motel the last week or so, in order to complete her therapy. I’ll have her home in her own bedroom by the weekend, though, so end of life care can take place in more comfortable surroundings.

I met Kage a few times, most notably in 2007 when I was on my book tour, and she, I, Harry Turtledove and Cory Doctorow were on a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books. It was a delight to have met her then, having been a fan of her work, and she was gracious and good company. Her work is stuff I look forward to.

With that in mind, and in celebration of a life in words, here’s a new story by Kage Baker: “The Bohemian Astrobleme,” just posted to Subterranean Magazine Online, and in the same universe as her recent novella “The Women of Nell Gwynne’s”. If you’re a fan, you’re going to love it; if you’re new to Kage’s work, you’ll see why you’ll be wanting to catch up on her canon.

All my best thoughts are to Kage, her sister, her friends and loved ones. Thank you, Kage, for all your words and stories. They are wonderful.

40 Comments on “Kage Baker”

  1. That’s very sad. She’s come highly recommended from a friend for a couple years now, and I just haven’t had a chance to check her out. I’ll have to check out that story.

  2. My sincere thanks to Kage for all she’s given me as a reader. She’s that rare writer whose works made confident that I’d like her as a person as much and perhaps more than the tales she told.

    I’m very sorry to hear she’s going, and grateful that fate and her family have given us a chance to say goodbye beforehand.

  3. What good stuff she has written. I discovered her in one of those Gardner Dozois short story anthologies, and then went and read all her novels.

    I am sorry to hear she’s been so ill. Best wishes to her from a sincere admirer, and to her family as well.

  4. So sad to see such a talented writer in such a state. I will keep her in my thoughts. Thanks for the link to the story, John, looking forward to reading.

  5. Dammit dammit dammit. I knew she was desperately ill, but I didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

    Thank you, Kage.

  6. This is terrible news. She’s a great person and a great writer. I’ve gotten so many hours of enjoyment out of her work.


  7. Oh, I am so sorry to hear this. She was, believe it or not, my Elizabethan English instructor years ago when I had a booth at the Northern & Southern California Renaissance Faires. She was hilariously funny but her jokes were very obscure, which made them even funnier.

    When I read the first Company novel I recognized her picture and couldn’t believe it. I’ve enjoyed her work immensely. I will light a candle for her and her loved ones and wish them well.

  8. I have a hard time like many saying goodbye.

    Not having met her personally I believe that every writer leaves a bit of themselves in each book and we get to know just the smallest part of them.

    Having read her books and read her responses to her reader’s questions on Joesph Mallozzi’s blog in July 2008 (link below) it was an even bigger connection. She was thoughful and a delight to get to know her this way.

    I wish her the painless goodbye as I know just how hard it is to watch your love one slip away from you. To her family I send my love and admiration.



  9. I would like to add my voice to those who are offering her family comfort in these times.

    I have nothing but admiration for Ms. Baker. She’s a gifted writer, and I was looking forward to many more stories from her. I would like to mention her love of silent films and the excellent film reviews she did on tor.com.

  10. Something I read somewhere years ago talked about how when someone passes they’re not really gone, they’re just not here.

    Kage leaves more here-ness than many and I am somewhat consoled by the fact that if I want to hear here voice again, all I have to do is read.

    What a marvelous gift to still have when she’s no longer here…

    Thanks for the link John

    Vaya con Dios, Kage

  11. I was privileged to spend time with her, along with interviewing her at the 2008 Westercon. She was amazing, and funny, and smart, just. damn.

  12. Kage is one of the writers who got me reading science fiction again after a bit of a break. The first book in The Company series is stunning. Or, if you know someone who loves historical fiction, this could be a gateway book as it’s mostly set in Tudor England.

  13. Sad news indeed – we westerners are poorly equiped to deal with reality of death and my thoughts are with her family and freinds.
    Having lost my older brother at 43 through accident a few years ago, I know first hand how terrible this will be for them all. Six years on I can still be a mess for days when the slightest thing reminds me of his abscence.
    On the positive side her talent was such that unlike most of us, she at least will not be forgotten while the race can still read.

    May she go gently into “that good night”.

    Pax vobiscum.

  14. A wonderful writer, and a fine person. What a sad sad loss. Goodbye, Kage. May you find peace.

  15. I knew she was very ill, but I hadn’t heard this latest. Of course I wish her a peaceful passing, and all my sympathy is with her and her family.

    It’s hard to believe that I won’t ever again have the thrill of “a new Kage Baker book!” She is one of my all-time favorite writers, and her work just got better and better. LOVED “The Women of Nell Gwynne’s,” and of course the Company books are fabulous. I will read them over and over, and probably cry.

  16. I hope she finds peace and comfort in the end. I watched my mother-in-law and uncle die do to cancer and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.

    My thoughts are with her family. Thank you for all the wonderful words you have given us.

  17. Not fair! I hope her passing is as peaceful as possible, and am thinking good thoughts for her and her family. I love Mendoza in Hollywood. And I was so looking forward to more steampunk from her. Again, I say, Not fair!

  18. Very sorry indeed to hear this news, but thank you for posting it, John. I’ve always enjoyed her stuff, and I’m mad at the universe for taking her away so soon.

  19. Bugger. There’s nothing I can add that wouldn’t be mawkish and impertinent, but Kage Baker has brought an enormous amount of unpretentiously intelligent pleasure into the reading life of me and my partner. Not a bad thing to do with a life.

  20. I have been a huge fan ever since I picked up the second Company book, ‘Sky Coyote’ on a whim and Kage became one of the few writers I’d always buy in hardcover rather than waiting on paperback releases. I’ll miss her writing very much, but take solace in the fact her books are very re-readable, so I can ‘visit’ with her in the future. I just regret I never took the time to let her know how much I enjoyed her work.

    My thought are with her family and friends as they go through this difficult time.

  21. Ever since Gardner published “Noble Mold” in 1997, I’ve been enamored of her work and the broad, deep humanity of the person that informed that work.

    While sick this past weekend, I lay abed reading The House of the Stag.

    I can never forget the impact of “The Two Old Men”.

    She remains to me, among the pretensions and strainings of just not the tillers in our field to bring forth savory fruit from weary earth, but in all the wide world of literary endeavor, an effortless cornucopia.


  22. @Xopher

    Neither did her friends and family. I work with Kage every year at an annual Christmas event (she and her sister Kathleen were invited to my wedding but her health didn’t permit them to come) and her whole illness has been hard and disturbingly fast. We were told two weeks ago that we’d have a few more months, now we’ve got a few more weeks.

    Funny thing is, when I met her, I had no idea she was a well read science fiction author. I worked with her for two years before I found out when I bumped into her at a local con in the Bay Area.

  23. Thanks.

    Next Christmas is going to be a little darker. My next biggest worry is for Kathleen. Her health hasn’t been so hot through all of this and I’m worried we’re going to lose her too.

  24. Thank you so much for posting the link to the Bohemian Astrbleme, John. It breaks my heart that this may be one of the last stories I’ll read of hers. I came across In the Garden of Iden at BookPeople in Austin back in 1998, and since, have bought every book and story of hers the moment they were released. Her characters are the embodiment of courage, grace, strength, and humor – as is the wonderful lady herself. This is just the worst news and so terribly sad.

  25. I’ve been working so hard that I only saw this from Mary today. Kage is the most wonderful writer – this is so tragic. When I learned she lived in Pismo Beach I foolishly felt horribly jealous of her. Now I am so glad she is in a peaceful environment in that beautiful, lovely place.

  26. I don’t know what to say. I guess my most heartfelt feelings for her friends and family is the best I can offer.

  27. This really sucks. I just started reading her Sky Coyote series and became a fan, and am looking for the whole series, just have 5 books now. Would have loved to seen more of her writing in the future.

    My heartfelt sympathy to her family, had a grandfather go through lung cancer, and I know how hard it is.

  28. Kage was a class act personally and a stupendously talented writer who never, I feel, got the widespread recognition she deserved. It breaks my heart I won’t ever have a new novel by her to read again. I hope that everyone who ever loved her books spreads the word far and wide to read her now and appreciate her legacy.

  29. Kage’s extraordinary work revealed a great soul, wit and heart. We were privileged to have her with us. Sail on Kage…

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