- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (August 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380819007
- ISBN-13: 978-0380819003
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,047,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mendoza in Hollywood (A Novel of the Company, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – July 31, 2001
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Ah, pity poor Mendoza. She's a botanist stuck in dusty southern California in 1862, with a broken heart, bizarre companions, lousy food (frijoles and steak again, anyone?), and no plants to study. On top of all that, she's immortal--a cyborg created and maintained by Dr. Zeus, also known as the Company. From its 24th-century headquarters, the Company sends orders back in time to Mendoza and her fellow cyborgs, who collect stuff from the past and send it ahead through time machines for inscrutable uses. But things go from bad to worse for our heroine when drought and smallpox decimate the region, leaving her with nothing to do but pine for her three-centuries-lost mortal love, the martyred Nicholas Harpole. But what's this? Along comes a British agent--the spitting image of Nicholas--hell-bent on upsetting the Union in its hour of need. Mendoza must decide whether to help him in his plot to ensure British rule of the Americas, thereby directly disobeying her Company mandates. She finds herself in a weird race against time itself in this story of science fiction adventure, mystery, and comedy, with not a few reverential in-jokes about SoCal culture thrown in for good measure.
Kage Baker's style and wit make her novels among the best reads in science fiction today. Mendoza in Hollywood, the third book in the Company series (10 are planned) is simply delightful, with the focus back on dear, tragic Mendoza, and tantalizing hints of mysterious conspiracies aplenty. Lots of questions remain unanswered, but Baker weaves such a delicious tale, it's a pleasure to be teased. The series began with In the Garden of Iden and Sky Coyote. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The tart-tongued immortal heroine of Sky Coyote returns in Baker's third installment of the Company series. Still reeling from the loss of her lover, the mortal Nicholas Harpole, who burned at the stake in 1555, Mendoza has been reassigned by Dr. Zeus Inc. (a 24th-century corporation) to an outpost disguised as a stagecoach station in Los Angeles's Cahuenga Pass in 1863. Mendoza and her co-workers are a funky bunch of immortals, all specialists in their own fields: finicky Oscar, an anthropologist, poses as a door-to-door salesman; Imarte, an acerbic historian, plays the whore; and Mendoza herself is an expert on extinct plant species. While the narrative unfolds at a languorous pace--the team collects its specimens, the occasional stage rides through--Baker's sinuous prose evokes well California's verdant countryside as it was before being buried under concrete and smog. The dialogue hums with a potent blend of bitchy barbs, humorous asides and pop cultural references. Baker mixes engaging and chilling moments in equal share, but her narrative only shifts into high gear near the end, when Edward Bell-Fairfax, a Victorian-era spy and genetic doppelganger of Mendoza's dead lover, wanders into the station and carries Mendoza off to bed. Although the novel's ending finds her alone again, Mendoza has by then moved from grief to a suitably ironic acceptance of life's troubles. Agent, Virginia Kidd. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This is the third offering in The Company Series and my second read of Kage Baker. I skipped Sky Coyote because I enjoy the Mendoza character and wanted to get more of her, but if I continue reading this I think I'll have to begin now to read them in order or things may not work out well. I'm getting a sense of this being one rather epic story being told in several novel size chunks. Based on some comments about that last few books in the series I would have to say that the only way I'll be able to judge properly is to try to get the entire picture in order to understand the ending of the series. In the final analysis of this novel I still have to say I'm hooked on the Mendoza character and would have liked to have been assured that she had a greater part in the remaining parts of the story.
I love my fiction character driven, and that's what makes this and the Garden of Iden outstanding as novels. The story and plot in each seems somewhat incomplete although there is still that flavor of completeness extant. Unfortunately both novels have the tragic romance as the main arc in each; although there are differences in the loves she has, even if they could be twins.
Upon having her first lover discover she's an immortal Cyborg and having him decide she's a devil and trying to take her with him when he allows himself to be burned to death for his overzealous religious convictions, Mendoza is content to stay clear of mortals. Unfortunately she keeps having nightmares that her lover is returning to her; and in most cases he's attempting to finish the job of killing her. Only her nightmares might be something more to do with Chrome radiation she emits that causes a distortion in time. When the twin to her lover shows up, over 150 years after the first is burned to death, she tries to be cautious about falling in love again; but fate won't let her off that easy.
Though the story takes place mostly in the area that will one day be Hollywood and there are allusions to the streets and structures that will some day be in specific spots, there is one chapter that confused me a bit--meaning I may have missed something and I hope it wasn't important. Though it is 1862; Mendoza and her companions are all Cyborgs created by the people from the future who were originally testing immortality by altering non-significant people through out the ages in the past (what better way to do so than to go back in time and change people then check up on them in the future when you return). The Cyborgs are also then enlisted to secretly store things from the past that are known to have gone extinct or disappeared and caching them away for the Company. They also are trained in a facility that has many future features, so thus acquainted; it makes sense that they would have movie nights through the delivery of movies from the future. I'm not sure why, though, the movie Intolerance by David Ward Griffith ends up being discussed in length as they watch it.
To get back to the story--at some point Mendoza realizes that this incarnation of her lover, though not as likely to have as adverse a reaction to finding out she's a Cyborg, does have a fatal flaw. His overwhelming dedication to his work makes her think he would have made a better Cyborg for the Company than she is. The rest of the story from here on seems to both complete the tragedy and contribute to foreshadowing the future. Too much discussion would spoil things and this novel bears reading..
Kage Bakers blend of wry humor and historical references as before makes this a singular and entertaining read.
This is a great SFF read for fans of Historical fiction and Time travel novels along with Romance (mostly those who don't mind the bit of tragic romance.)
On the other hand, I was put off by the overall feel of the book, which seems more like an extended love letter to Hollywood in general and DW Griffith specifically, than a novel about Mendoza and her dilemma. Not that this is a bad thing, but when a large portion of the book is devoted to a scene-by-scene recount of the famed director's "Intolerance", it begins to feel like so much filler.
Baker's humor is more understated in "Mendoza in Hollywood", relying primarily on the character "Oscar", one of Mendoza's companions in the Caslifornia desert where she has been assigned. Oscar is an operative whose primary function whould be data collection, but who has become obsessed with his cover, that of a traveling salesman, and spends the entire book trying to sell a pie safe. His humor is more broad than I generally like, being more WC Fields than Groucho Marx, but he does make some genuinely insightful observations and get off a few laughs.
Other characters are more tragic, expecially the older cyborgs, whose minds are starting to break down after millenia on the job.
Mostly, this is an expository book, not one that deals much with plot or characterization. It's a fine placeholder for what I hope will be better books in the future, but certainly cannot stand on it's own.
The reason I gave this book 4 stars, however, is that the final third of the book, where we begin to see something of a plot develop, is exciting as all get out, being full of mystery, intrigue, romance, derring-do and some of the stranger bombshells to be dropped since this series began.
Most recent customer reviews
Here we go again, looking at things from Mendoza's perspective. This is nearly as difficult to read as the first book.Read more
I still have to read tons of them though, I like the idea at the base of the whole series...Read more