Thursday, July 18, 2013

Catfantastic II - Ed. Andre Norton and Martin H. Greenberg

Catfantastic II
Ed. Andre Norton and Martin H. Greenberg
Daw Books
Copyright 1991

The back jacket description:
A yowl shatters the silence of the night -
It is a call to battle, a warning of danger, or the greeting of a fellow predator stalking through the darkness, heading for a rendezvous with adventure in one of the magic places - those mysterious realms undetectable by mere humans. Tonight the cats are gathering to tell their tales, of times past or yet to come, of the two-legged beings they have adopted as their own special pets.

So let us join them now, and if we are very quiet, as silent as a cat on the scent of likely prey, we may be privileged to learn some long-kept secrets of the feline kind. Listen now, the stories begin, legends of such might heroes as: Bomber, the ship's cat out for revenge on the German warship, the Bismark; Graywhiskers, who ruled his kingdom with a unique weapon of his own creation; Bat and Punkin who had patiently lived out several lives while waiting to find the only humans worthy of being theirs; Hermione, who as familiar to an astronomer would have to guard him not from falling stars but from the unexpected dangers lurking in his very own home....
Catfantastic II
Catfantastic II is the second anthology of fantasy and science-fiction based cat stories edited by Andre Norton and Martin H. Greenberg. I've read it before a couple of times, and this volume has some of my favourite stories from the whole series of Catfantastic books (all five of them), including P. M. Griffin's In Bastet's Service, which I reviewed on it's own a few years ago.

On the other hand, I feel a little bit guilty with this review. I didn't read every story in the anthology. These days, I just go looking for my favourites, one of which, as I said is In Bastet's Service by P.M. Griffin. Another, and it's made it's way to the second favourite slot, is The Last Gift by Elizabeth H. Boyer.

The Last Gift is a "how were cats created" story set within Norse Mythology, and it's absolutely out and out hilarious. Of course part of that for me might be the fact I could see my two cats in the behavior of the cats in the story. The best quote: ...creeping across the rafters overhead with larcenous intentions on the meat curing there in the smoke of the fire. They snatched food straight out of the pot... It goes on for a while and every time I read that passage I end up giggling madly, and shaking my head at the same time. I think I need to remember to look for some of Elizabeth Boyer's novels, seeing how much I've enjoyed this story.

Graywhiskers is another character I enjoyed reading about, in The Execution by A. R. Major. Talk about ingenious! Elizabeth Moon's story, Clara's Cat though, I just  found both creepy and sad - and she's normally one of my favourite authors.

Some authors who had stories in the first volume of Catfantastic reuse those characters in Catfantastic II, most notably Ardath Mayhar who writes about Hermione in the form of her reports. The offering in this volume is Hermione at Moon House. On the other hand, I missed Mercedes Lackey's SCat series of stories in this one. I know though, that her stories will be in the rest of the series.

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