I picked up Catfantastic because it’s a science-fiction/fantasy anthology about cats and contains short stories by Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton, the latter of whom was also editor. It was also published in 1989 by DAW, which has printed countless books and authors I’ve loved through the years. One doesn’t need to know about or like all of the above to enjoy this collection of short stories.
Norton sums up the anthology purrfectly in the introduction:
Herein are neither Heathcliff nor Garfield but some others who have as definite personalities to make forceful impressions within their territories… Cats are presented in all shapes, colors, sizes, alike in self-confidence and general ingenuity. There seems never to have been a cat who was not entirely equal to the situation which confronts him or her. In other words, there are no extraordinary cats, merely ones to whom unusual opportunities present themselves.
“The Gate of the Kittens”- Wilanne Schneider Belden: An example of how taking in a stray can lead to the unexpected. Although not directly related, the title refers to the Gate of the Cat from the realm of Andre Norton’s Witch World. 3/5
“The Damcat”- Clare Bell: A Hopi and his wildcat show that projects sometimes require more than just human abilities and machines. 4/5
“Borrowing Trouble”- Elizabeth H. Boyer: In this humorous tale, a hopeless wizard’s apprentice discovers what’s in a name. 5/5
“Day of Discovery”- Blake Cahoon: Unaware of the theory that cats are aliens, physicists ask how a cat can just disappear. 3/5
“Wart”- Jayge Carr: Wart tells how even a cat’s life on a spaceship can be hard and how a feline’s life is not necessarily simpler than a human’s. 4/5
“Yellow Eyes”- Mary Lois Dunn: Cat befriends Yellow Eyes, the household’s new hound, who says the presence of a giant leaf-ear is disrupting the hunting. Cat also appears in Norton’s Tales of the Witch World. 4/5
“It Must Be Some Place”- Donna Farley: Butterfly, a magical tortoiseshell tom, goes with a wizard’s apprentice down the rabbit hole. Their adventure leads to unexpected encounters in places like the Valley of Lost Socks. Where else should one start searching for a sock that disappeared while doing laundry? This really fun and enjoyable tail is my favorite from the anthology. 5/5
“The Dreaming Kind”- C.S. Friedman: The experiments were supposed to enhance vision, so why are the kittens reacting to what’s not there? 2/5
“Trouble”- P.M. Griffin: Trouble takes matters into his own paws to help Dory, who needs protection and training. 4/5
“SKitty”- Mercedes Lackey: A telepathic shipscat (BioTech Type F-021) helps with trade negotiations. More of SKitty’s adventures can be followed in Werehunter, a collection of Lackey’s early work. 4/5
“The Game of Cat and Rabbit”- Patricia Shaw Mathews: The title sums up this 7-page short pretty well, but there’s more to it than meets the human eye. 4/5
“From the Diary of Hermione”- Ardath Mayhar: Hermione takes pen in paw to recount her Sorcerer’s grave mistake. 3/5
“It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…Supercat!”- Ann Miller and Karen Elizabeth Rigley: UFOs have been sighted by a science-fiction writer, who has a cat with eyeglass-like markings named Clark Kent. 5/5
“Noble Warrior”- Andre Norton: A Siamese cat who was brought to an English house as a gift turns the tide on a tricky pixie. 4/5
“Bastet’s Blessing”- Elizabeth Scarborough: In this mummy story Dr. Mercer, who is away on an archeology dig, ends up needing assistance from her soulwalking cat. 5/5
Overall, I enjoyed Catfantastic and the authors’ insights into feline minds. Some of the stories I liked better than others, but that’s to be expected. Should I come across any of the other four anthologies I’ll give them a home too. MysTic seems to think this is finished so I suppose I’ll heed her advice.
Dedicated to Picotine, who helped me become a cat person.
“Je t’aime, mon amie.”