6.05.2018

Cats in Fantasy

Works of fantasy frequently feature amazing creatures. Dragons are a staple. Unicorns, ogres, and trolls are not strangers to fantasy readers either. But what about more mundane creatures, like cats. Yes, working on the Merliss stories has me a bit obsessed with cats, but felines play a leading role in many fantasy stories. Check out these examples.

A Night in the Lonesome October features Graymalk, the companion of Crazy Jill. The story concerns a group of occultists who have come together to open or oppose the opening of a door to the elder gods. The fabric of reality thins enough to allow the elder gods entrance every time a full moon rises on Halloween. Each occultist has an animal companion. The story is told by Snuff, a watch dog belonging to Jack, and centers on the interactions between the animal companions. Graymalk and Snuff become close friends as the story unfolds. Each saves the other's life at least once. Snuff rescues Graymalk from drowning in a well and Graymalk warns Jack when Snuff is turned over to a vivisectionist. If you're a fan of Gothic fiction and you like cats or dogs, you really need to read A Night in the Lonesome October.

Tamsin is a ghost story set in modern-day Dorset. Jennifer Gluckstein, an American teenager, moves to a 300-year-old farm when her mother remarries. The wreck of a farmhouse is barely habitable. Jennifer's step-father has been hired to revitalize the farm. Jennifer brings her cat with her. Mister Cat has one interest, finding a new girlfriend. In the upper story of the house, he finds one: the ghost of a white Persian who belonged to Tamsin, one of the original occupants of the farm. Following Mister Cat on one of his visits to his ghostly girl cat, Jennifer befriends the ghost of Tamsin. The story follows the slow revelation of what happened to Tamsin and why her life met with a tragic end. If you like cats and English history, grab a copy of Tamsin and dive in.

The Secret of Kells is an animated fantasy film based on legends regarding the creation of the Book of Kells. The protagonist is Brendan, an apprentice in the scriptorium at the Abbey of Kells. Brother Aidan, a master illuminator, comes to Kells after the Vikings attack his monastery at Iona. He brings with him an unfinished manuscript and his white cat, Pangur Bán. The cat befriends Brendan and aids him in finding gall nuts for ink and a magnifying crystal. Both are necessary for completion of the book. Pangur Bán also helps to rescue Brendan from a locked cell in the abbey tower. If you like cats and animation, you'll love The Secret of Kells.

Do you have any favorite fantasy stories featuring cats? I would love to hear about them.

5 comments:

  1. A favorite fantasy book featuring cats? No, but I used to love to read the cozy mystery series The Cat Who...

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  2. Cats? Mundane? Wash your mouth out. And hope that the cats cannot hear you.
    Cats and dragons are closely related. And have you ever noticed how many fantasy writers share their lives with them?

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  3. Sci-Fi and cats... There's the Honorverse and CJ Cherryh.

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  4. I think cats are an obvious choice for fantasy! How about Anne McCaffrey's Catalyst? Or (for younger readers, and only sort of fantasy), Erin Hunter's Warriors series? Meow!

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  5. Author Craig Martelle writes a sci-fi series called "Free Trader" where the main characters have cat companions. Not your ordinary cats. They can communicate telepathically. His new book "Free Trader 8: The Great Cat Rebellion" is out now.

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