Monday, January 24, 2005

Well, there had to be one book about cats:

Ruthven Todd, Space Cat, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1952).
Illustrated by Paul Galdone

Space Cat is a delight. A small kitten smuggles himself onto a plane where he is "rescued" by an airforce officer who takes him back to base. Being a cat, he is curious and he sneaks himself on board a test flight. Having survived that, but having been discovered, he is given his very own pressure suit. On the moon he discovers aliens, and save's his man's life.

All of this is told from the cat's point of view--he is very much in charge of his own world--and what makes it special, is that the cat--Flyball--acts just like a cat.

When he meets the floating globes he acts just as a cat would, “Gingerly he put out a paw toward it. As he put out his paw the object moved just that same distance further from him.” (50) after he has tried this several times, “Flyball tucked his podgy paws under him and sat glaring at the blue things. There did not seem to be any way in which he could reach them, and their behavior made them seem even more attractive than the crumpled paper ball had been in the rocket when there was no gravity.”(52).

I also loved the scene where Flyball tries to capture globules of milk.

If I ever work out how to load pictures to LiveJournal (it appears to involve several stages in between) I'll post a picture. Galdone's drawings are perfect.

There are three sequels, but the one I've seen, Space Cat and the Kittens anthropomorphizes to a greater degree and I didn't find it quite so appealing,

A final thought about cognitive estrangement: Todd does quite a good job about making humans seem rather alien.

Todd is an English author (a poet as well) who wrote adult novels as R.T. Cambell, and whose real name was Professor John Stubbs. Any other information would be very much appreciated.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

SC Visits Venus & SC Meets Mars are better than SC & the Kittens. I think some of the anthopomorphic clunkiness comes when Todd tries to have the cats engage in dialogue.

In Venus SC & Stone set off for Venus, where they find sentient plant life that uses telepathy. SC & Stone are even able to briefly communicate with each other - which is, like the dialogue in #4, a bit not-right. There are mice on Venus, but the plants request that SC not chase them, as they assist in pollination. We also get a little pacifism at the end, when Stone laughs about cats and dogs fighting, and the plants "could not understand why a man should be amused by the thought of two intelligent creatures quarrelling."

#3 starts on the way home from this trip - they get off course and have to land on Mars. Here SC meets Moofa, last of the Mars cats. Moofa likes to fish and swim and their relationship is very amusing, and I think very cat-like. There are also mice on Mars - metallic ones who can't be hurt by cats and love to play - the perfect cat toy.

I think 2 & 3 are my favorites.

HREF="">Tina Connolly

9:53 AM  
Blogger Farah said...

I can feel myself getting sentimental [g].

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farah, you'll be able to pick me out because of what I'm about to say and my response to your questionnaire.

If you really want a howling laugh from a children's book about the behaviour of liquid in weightlessness, try the appendix to "Simon Black and the Spacemen" by Ivan Southall (which actually fits in to "Simon Black in Space" published by Angus and Robertson sometime in the 50s. Apart from this, the particular book involved has one of the most interesting Venuses (is this a word?) in either adult or children's fiction.

5:00 AM  
Blogger JeffV said...


I'm a sucker for the right kind of cat fiction--and this sounds delightful. Thanks for blogging about it!

(You might like the US comic Get Fuzzy, and its belligerent Bucky the Cat, btw.)


9:42 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Space Cat was THE VERY FIRST BOOK I remember reading. I was six years old, and I was hooked on sf forever after.

My mother always told me that reading sf would rot my mind, ruin my morals, and lead me into hanging around with disreputable people. Thank God, she was right, and Flyball was the one who first lead me down that glorious path.

-- Bruce Arthurs

10:02 PM  
Blogger Farah said...

I love Get Fuzzy (although the personality type is more my Abyssian, my Siamese was a cuddle cat).

Thanks for the other references! The best (early) result of the questionnaire so far has been links to books and authors I'd never heard of.

More please!

8:01 PM  
Blogger 122272 said...

Hey, I was searching blogs, and came onto yours, and I like it. I kinda landed here on accident while searching for something esle, but nice blog.. I got you bookmarked.

If you got time , go visit my site, it´s about penis enlargement reviews. It pretty much covers penis enlargement reviews and other similar topics available.

12:30 AM  
Blogger bill naka said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a book a million site/blog. It pretty much covers book a million related stuff.

1:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home