The Life of the World to Come

I may have mentioned once or twice or twelve times that I am not the greatest reader of series. Even if I like them and totally mean to read them all, sometimes something happens and I lose momentum. (On a related note, I’m halfway through the second sleeve of a sweater I started knitting two summers ago, then set aside for no real reason. I try to make the most of that initial bust of enthusiasm but it doesn’t always quite work out.)

A while ago, Jenny (I think?) mentioned Kage Baker’s The Company books in passing and I was reminded how I love them and yet never finished reading all of them. So of late I’ve had my nose buried in The Life of the World to Come. It answers some questions (it’s my own fault if those questions aren’t fresher in my mind.) And raises some more questions.

The premise is that in the 24th century a secret and shady company will invent time travel and immortality. Due to practical constraints rich people can’t themselves be immortal time travellers but they can and do sprinkle some immortal operatives throughout history to do their bidding. If this sounds appealing to you at all and you haven’t read these books, I think you should.

I suppose it says something about me that some of the parts I found most striking are about the future’s bans on things I love. A future with no liquor, tea or cheese sounds bleak and sad. I mean, didn’t George Orwell’s dystopia at least have something called Victory Gin? Like consider this, keeping in mind that the speaker is a grown man:

You know what this is the beginning of? Our bar! Imitation sherry and port to start with, and pretend tea next week, and maybe even simulated whiskey and gin. This is the sort of thing creative people used to have in their houses, you know. I know for a fact C. S. Lewis drank real tea every single day.

Y’all, I am practically C. S. Lewis. (Not really. But I do drink a lot of non-imaginary tea.)

In fairness, I should say that in this future you can buy your own robotic pirate ship and smuggle rum/chocolate/coffee, which I do not recall happening in Nineteen Eighty-Four. And I am trying to keep in mind that times and perspectives change. Perhaps someone from the past blundering into our time would say something like “What? No public hangings? And I can’t shoot a tiger to make a rug for my study? What’s wrong with you people? Where’s my slide rule? This future is stupid!”

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2 Responses to The Life of the World to Come

  1. Hahaha, it was probably me, I love these books and advocate for them constantly. The Life of the World to Come was one of my favorites, as I recall, but I really need to reread the whole series and reassess.

  2. Pingback: Groove | Stitches & Marginalia

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