Posted on June 12, 2018
Of Course I Know What I’m Doing, I’m a Cat
Alien creatures are abundantly common in science fiction and fantasy, and the creation of new and weird species is a preoccupation all major authors come back to time and time again, to say nothing of the cat. Cats are the perfect protagonists, or side-kicks, because even though we know a lot about them, what we don’t know continues to intrigue and mystify us. Have you ever looked at a cat and just knew it was controlling you, admiring itself in the mirror, or thinking about food and how to get it (maybe)? Even if you don’t like cats, these characters – fierce warriors, time travelers, telepaths, adventure seekers, controller of worlds or simply couch potato loyal companions – just may change your mind!
Cats in Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels
TUXEDO THOMAS & THE BARQUE CATS
“Catalyst” & “Catacombs” by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
The Barque Cats have become highly prized crew members who travel the galaxy, responsible for keeping spacecraft free of vermin and alerting human crews to potential environmental hazards. But the announcement of a widespread epidemic affecting livestock on numerous planets throws their future into doubt. Not even the Barque Cats will be spared. Mistaken for a public health hazard, they flee Earth for the feline-dominated planet, Mau, seeking sanctuary with the help of Pshaw-Ra, a mysterious cat with his own spaceship and hidden agenda.
“Catalyst” is also available in Audio.
“Catacombs” is also available in Audio.
“MORT(E)” & “D’ARC” by Robert Repino
The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony’s watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans’ penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. As a final step in the war effort, the Colony uses its strange technology to transform the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba.
“Mort(e)” is also available in eBook and eAudio.
“D’Arc” is also available in eAudio.
“THE DOOR INTO SUMMER” by Robert Heinlein
Pete is a lively tomcat who despises the snow, and is, at various points in the protagonist Dan Davis’ life, his only friend and companion. Dan Davis was tricked by an unscrupulous business partner and a greedy fiancée into spending thirty years in suspended animation just when he was on the verge of a success beyond his wildest dreams. But when he awoke in the future, he discovered he had the means to travel back in time. Inspired by his own cat’s confusion and irritation when confined in the house during a cold winter, which prompted his wife to observe that the cat was looking for the “door into summer,” Heinlein claimed he wrote this twisting time-travel story in just two weeks.
“TIME CAT” by Lloyd Alexander
Gareth is no ordinary cat. For one thing, he can talk. For another, he’s got the power to travel through time— “Anywhere, any time, any country, any century,” Gareth tells Jason. And in the wink of a very special cat’s eye, they’re off. From ancient Egypt to Japan, the land of young Leonardo da Vinci to the town of a woman accused of witchcraft, Jason and Gareth are whisked from place to place and friend to foe. Full of fun, excitement, and a good dose of history, here’s a fantastic tale that grabs the imagination and takes it far and wide, on the adventure of not one but nine amazing lifetimes.
“THE CHANUR SAGA” by C.J. Cherryh
The Hani are a lion-like people who were given space-faring technology, which means they are simultaneously technological and still quite feral. When Tully, a fugitive from a spaceship captured by the arrogant, insect-like Kif, takes refuge on the Pride of Chanur, a merchant vessel belonging to a clan of the Hani, Hilfy, its captain, gives him shelter, despite all the dangers she and her crew will face.
“The Chanur Saga” includes the first three books in the series: Pride of Chanur, Chanur’s venture and Kif strike back.
“Chanur’s Endgame” includes the last two books in the series: “Chanur’s homecoming” and “Chanur’s legacy.”
“THE CAT WHO WALKS THROUGH WALLS” by Robert Heinlein
Pixel is a timeline-hopping cat who has the inexplicable ability to pass through solid matter, apparently a result of his “inability to know any better.” Pixel also appears in the Heinlein novel, “To Sail Beyond the Sunset.”
“TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG” by Connie Willis
Princess Arjumand is the beloved cat of Tocelyn ‘Tossie’ Mering in the 19th century whose great granddaughter in the 21st century will control a very large endowment that the time travel faculty at Oxford critically needs. Ned Henry goes back in time to 1889 to study the Coventry Cathedral for a wealthy American who wants to build an exact replica before it is destroyed, and when one of his associates rescues the feline from the Thames causing the timeline to be altered, Ned must race against time to restore history.
Also available in eBook.
“FOOL’S ERRAND” by Robin Hobb
Fennel is proficient at communication with the protagonist, Fitz, but has no particular affection for him or for anybody else, being entirely focused on sleeping in warm places and being given food.
Also available in eBook.
“THE DRESDEN FILES” by Jim Butcher
Mister is a bob-tailed grey tomcat belongs to the wizard Harry Dresden. He is often used as a vessel for Bob (a spirit of intellect) to inhabit on intelligence missions. No magic, no super-strength, no destiny, just a cat who is there by the door to give a weary hero a purring welcome home, or not, yet at heart the best of companions.
“The Dresden Files” has also been adapted into a series of graphic novels.
“WARRIORS” by Erin Hunter
Firestar is the main character for the first book in the Warriors series, as well as a major supporting character for the subsequent books. He is a flame-colored tom with deep green eyes.
“Into the Wild,” the first book in the original Warriors series by Erin Hunter, is also available in eBook.
“TAILCHASER’S SONG” by Tad Williams
Tailchaser, a ginger tomcat of rare courage and curiosity, embarks on a quest to rescue his cat friend, Hushpad, a dangerous and magical journey that leads him into a nightmare world from which only his own resources can deliver him.
“THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS” by Terry Pratchett
Maurice is a regular cat with magic intelligence who knows how to persuade others to do what he wants, including Death, with whom he has an arrangement to alter the count of the number of the lives he has left. The Amazing Maurice runs the perfect Pied Piper scam. This streetwise alley cat knows the value of cold, hard cash and can talk his way into and out of anything. But when Maurice and his cohorts decide to con the town of Bad Blintz, it will take more than fast talking to survive the danger that awaits. For this is a town where food is scarce, and rats are hated, where cellars are lined with deadly traps, and where a terrifying evil lurks beneath the hunger-stricken streets…. Set in Terry Pratchett’s beloved Discworld, this masterfully crafted, gripping read is both compelling and funny. When one of the world’s most acclaimed fantasy writers turns a classic fairy tale on its head, no one will ever look at the Pied Piper—or rats—the same way again!
“THE CATS OF ULTHAR” by H. P. Lovecraft
The cats of Ulthar take revenge upon a kitten’s murder in the H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name.
This timeless short story from H.P. Lovecraft is also available in eBook and eAudio.
“RINGWORLD” by Larry Niven
The Kzinti are tiger like creatures, carnivorous and covered with a thick coat of long fur that comes in various combinations of orange, yellow, and black …. and the first aliens encountered by humans exploring a mysterious world fabricated in the shape of a ring. Thus, begins the conflicts between the Kzin and mankind. Stories of the Kzin continue in the shared universe of the “Man-Kzin Wars” series.
Also available in eAudio.
“SABRIEL” by Garth Nix
Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him, with companions Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful spirit, the eighth of the Nine Bright Shiners and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom.
“TAILS OF WONDER AND IMAGINATION: CAT STORIES” edited by Ellen Datlow
Tails of Wonder collects the best science fiction and fantasy stories featuring house cats as heroes and villains from an all-star list of contributors.
Also available in eBook.
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