Catalyst

Catalyst

A Tale of the Barque Cats

Book - 2010
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Pilot, navigator, engineer, doctor, scientist--ship's cat? All are essential to the well-staffed space vessel. Since the early days of interstellar travel, when Tuxedo Thomas, a Maine coon cat, showed what a cat could do for a ship and its crew, the so-called Barque Cats have become highly prized crew members. Thomas's carefully bred progeny, ably assisted by humans--Cat Persons--with whom they share a deep and loving bond, now travel the galaxy, responsible for keeping spacecraft free of vermin, for alerting human crews to potential environmental hazards, and for acting as morale officers.

Even among Barque Cats, Chessie is something special. Her pedigree, skills, and intelligence, as well as the close rapport she has with her human, Janina, make her the most valuable crew member aboard the Molly Daise. And the litter of kittens in her belly only adds to her value.

Then the unthinkable happens. Chessie is kidnapped--er, catnapped--from Dr. Jared Vlast's vet clinic at Hood Station by a grizzled spacer named Carl Poindexter. But Chessie's newborn kittens turn out to be even more extraordinary than their mother. For while Chessie's connection to Janina is close and intuitive, the bond that the kitten Chester forms with Carl's son, Jubal, is downright telepathic. And when Chester is sent into space to learn his trade, neither he nor Jubal will rest until they're reunited.

    But the announcement of a widespread epidemic affecting livestock on numerous planets throws their future into doubt. Suddenly the galactic government announces a plan to impound and possibly destroy all exposed animals. Not even the Barque Cats will be spared.

    With the clock racing against them, Janina, Jubal, Dr. Vlast, and a handful of very special kittens will join forces with the mysterious Pshaw-Ra--an alien-looking cat with a hidden agenda--to save the Barque Cats, other animals, and quite possibly the universe as they know it from total destruction.
 
Publisher: New York : Del Rey /Ballantine Books, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345513762
Branch Call Number: SF MCC
Characteristics: 256 p. ;,24 cm
Additional Contributors: Scarborough, Elizabeth Ann

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r
RogueJen
Aug 14, 2016

Kind of a fun book, but thin on plot and a bit slow in many places. Most of the characters felt two-dimensional, so it was hard to connect to any of them.

g
GuyN
Oct 11, 2014

Not up to McCaffery's usual standards, but a pleasant read for cat people. The partnership with Scarborough was realized with much more complexity in the Powers That Be trilogy. Just call this book McCaffery Lite and Catgoofy. The story is continued in Catacombs which was so bad I stopped reading halfway through.

b
bridge1
Aug 16, 2012

If you have nothing else to read, you could probably get through this book.

a
andreareads
Aug 15, 2011

Cats in space! Fun read, but the plot gets strangely convoluted and the ending is to be continued. I've read better by both authors.

BPLNextBestAdults Jul 13, 2011

Earth is no longer inhabitable - people and cats now travel the galaxy. Duchess, a telepathic Barque Cat and prized breeder, rids her ship of vermin and detects potential safety hazards. Her newest kitten, Chester, however has plans of his own that do not include being a helpful ship’s cat. When a wide-spread plague develops, the corrupt galactic government threatens the destruction of all contaminated animals. Duchess’s owner, Janina, and her veterinarian love interest, partner with others, including a con artist, try to prevent this catastrophe.
While this effort includes many expected facets of McCaffrey and Scarborough’s writing - set off Earth; romance; well-developed characters - Catalyst’s storyline is lacking depth. This fast read is adult science fiction, but would be an appropriate suggestion for teens. This book would appeal to female readers, especially if they are cat lovers.

c
catfish1
Jul 01, 2011

An easy but delightful read, enough of a plot to hold interest, and delightful characters both feline and human. Enough to get me interested in this author.

b
bibliophage91
Apr 17, 2011

Catalyst is a sweet story and a quick read.

Characters, both human and feline, are charming and plausible. Any cat-lover will appreciate the equal time given to telling the story from the cats’ points of view. The plot is neatly laid out and proceeds to a satisfying (and humorous) conclusion with easy speed.

This can certainly take up its place to represent feline-centric SF, next to the plethora of cat-mystery series.

I’ve tagged this as young-adult because of the accessibility, but also because the two main human characters are young.

In reading this the same day I finished Century Rain, I was forced to compare this book’s aspirations with more weighty SF that aspires to greatness. This one has NO pretensions – it’s about telepathic cats. But you can’t dismiss this quality of the writing that makes a story flow so effortlessly and enjoyably. Sure, it’s not going to win the Hugo or Nebula awards, or change anyone’s world view, but it’s 100% successful in providing charming entertainment for the cat-lovers among us.

Incinerated_Newt Mar 03, 2011

I had the advantage of coming at this not having read any other McCaffery novels. All in all, it was fun and a quick read. The cats were cute and the descriptions will remind you of your own cats. It wasn't compelling in any way, but it was fun.

2
20KBT10
Aug 24, 2010

I actually bought this book before reading it because, well...it's Anne McCaffrey. I was honestly disappointed. The idea is good, but the story construction is just not as developed as her standard. The descriptive quality of her work—the almost lyrical nature of her words—just isn’t present, and it leaves gaps in believability. Don’t let this be your judge of Mrs. McCaffrey’s work, please!

m
mfhmark
Mar 20, 2010

McCaffrey is always a good read. This book is no exception. Good characters, good story.

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a
andreareads
Aug 15, 2011

To express nonchalance or self-assurance, wash your shoulder. To indicate that you are considering a situation, lightly groom one of your front paws. And a fine time to groom that critical area under your tail is when you wish to demonstrate your indifference to the insignificant events around you, or to demonstrate contempt for an idea or individual.

a
andreareads
Aug 15, 2011

I am a cat. I know what starving means when we speak of it to someone with food. It means we want that food and will say whatever it takes to get it.

a
andreareads
Aug 15, 2011

This cat truly was one sun short of a solar system. He had been in space too long and lost it. And I was stuck with him.

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bibliophage91
Apr 17, 2011

bibliophage91 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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