Saturday, 9 October 2010

Review|Sky Coyote - Kage Baker

A while back, I read Kage Baker's Company antology, Gods and Pawns, and generally enjoyed the concepts and storytelling therein. So, more recently, when I was browsing my local library, I decided to try out the main series. A few months after reading In the Garden of Iden, which I found readable, but hardly what I'd expected from the anthology, I decided to continue my read with Sky Coyote. Told from Facilitator Joseph's point of view, rather than Mendoza's - which turned the story into more of a historical romance than the science fiction I was expecting! - I'd hoped Sky Coyote would, on the whole, be a better book.

The series is set in a future in which both quasi-machine immortality and time travel had been invented: with complications. Immortality is a children only procedure, and unpleasant to boot. Time travel can't change recorded history: and only goes one way, into the past. One company, Dr Zeus, combine these techniques to create cybernetic immortals who preserve artifacts for the Company: unheard of in recorded history, they nevertheless turn up in the Company's possession. The Preservers and Facilitators preserve whatever they've been paid for: and this time, it's a Native American tribe, the Chumash. Joseph is scheduled to pose as one of their gods, Sky Coyote", to save the tribe before the colonisation of the Americas.

Unfortunately, this is where it alls goes wrong for me. Some will like it, but I really dislike historical innacuracy, unless it's actually been caused by, say, time travel or specified as an alternate history. It's one of the reasons why I like Temeraire. In Sky Coyote, however, the Chumash speak in such a contrived and modern way that I really couldn't stand the dialogue with them at all. They'd invented stocks and shares - despite the disadvantages of the Americas, and explicitly referred to them as such, as well as several similar things. I can't fairly review the book, I have to say, because this one, major aspect annoyed me so much, so I'm not going to give this a rating. It's a shame, because I rather liked the initial premise and the suggestion of the Company's darker aspects - no news comes from after the year 2355, for example, and operatives are being removed for "retraining" and not returning.

I'd only suggest Sky Coyote to someone who's confident of being able to ignore the history and focus on the rest. I couldn't do that, so there's no judgement or rating from me.

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