cover image Catalyst: A Tale of the Barque Cats

Catalyst: A Tale of the Barque Cats

Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Del Rey Books, $26 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-345-51376-2

Award winning authors McCaffrey and Scarborough team up for their 11th collaboration: a book that mixes science fiction and feline fetishism. When professional Cat Person Janina foolishly reveals to criminal Carl ""Ponty"" Poindexter just how valuable Barque cats are, her precious Barque Chessie is soon stolen, to be returned only after dangerous misadventures nearly kill the feline. At the same time, a corrupt and well-connected landowner is using an insect infestation to justify a massive public health panic, hoping to acquire cheap land but instead sparking a Federation-wide overreaction that threatens to end in mass cat slaughter. The only hope for the endangered felines may be the determined Janina and her friends, along with the megalomaniac cat Pshaw-Ra, whose grandiose claims of feline supremacy are backed up with advanced, cat-friendly spacecraft. McCaffrey and Scarborough's simple prose is more suitable for younger readers, but the overstrained plot is ultimately disappointing.