Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cat Quest: Bomber and the Bismark by Clare Bell

This review is part of Cat Quest, my challenge to read science fiction and fantasy books that feature cats.

Bomber and the Bismark is the first short story in the collection Catfantastic II (edited by Andre Norton & Martin H. Greenberg).

Feathers, or Lieutenant "Feathers" Geoffrey-Faucett, is a pilot for England on H.M.S. Ark Royal during World War 2. After he rescues a cat that was swimming in the middle of ocean, they learn that the H.M.S. Hood, the flagship of the British fleet has been destroyed by the German battleship Bismark. There are only three survivors...maybe four since the cat, quickly named Bomber because of his unusual coloring, has a collar reading H.M.S. Hood even though Ark Royal is three thousand miles away from where Hood sank. Bomber seems to be an ordinary cat in every way except that he creates a portal through Feathers' cabin wall that goes to the Bismark. Feathers misses his chance to take advantage of that portal, but when Ark Royal is ordered to pursue and take down Bismark they'll both get another chance.

I'm not much of an artist, but here's my shot at drawing Bomber.
I loved this story. Bomber was very cat-like, he even sprayed Feathers' bunk to mark his territory. Like most cats he sometimes seems like he's responding to human requests and at other times distinctly ignores humans. Bell keeps it ambiguous as to whether he's responding to Feathers' needs or just using his powers to satisfy his own desire to get revenge against the Nazis who destroyed his home.

I didn't go into this collection with expectations and I'm very pleased with the first story. Clare Bell isn't a newcomer to writing fantasy about cats and it shows. I will definitely be checking out her series, The Named.

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