Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Discover the Stars

The new poetry feature is up at Escape Into Life!--the marvelous poems of Charles Rafferty and the amazing photographs of Brian Oldham! Yes, this boy! Fondly known as "Star Boy" now in my strange, shiny mind.

Meanwhile, as I continue to read the science fiction of Cordwainer Smith, I am rediscovering why I sometimes don't like science fiction. Perhaps I will discuss some of this in an entry to be titled, "Oh, my God, cats again?!" noting the science fiction writer's terrible prescience.

But, really, could he have predicted Hello Kitty? Could he have predicted the relentless cat humor all over the Internet?

OK, it appears that this will be my anti-cat rant, after all, after reading "The Game of Rat and Dragon," a Cordwainer Smith story that ends with a space hero upset with a nurse who is upset with him for favoring cats--that is, telepathic pin-lighting cats better known as "partners"--over humans. Underhill, the human hero, has read the nurse's mind briefly, but then:

He cut off the sight of her mind and, as he buried his face in the pillow, he caught an image of the Lady May [his space partner, a cat].

"She
is a cat," he thought.  "That's all she is--a cat!"

But that was not how his mind saw her--quick beyond all dreams of speed, sharp, clever, unbelievably graceful, beautiful, wordless and undemanding.

Where would he ever find a woman who could compare with her?

OK, there you have it. It's a cute story, with appropriate concern for animal welfare and cats-in-space, etc., etc, and I love cats, my friends' cats, the bookstore cat, etc., but, come on, "wordless and undemanding"?! As you can see, I am not wordless and undemanding myself.

But, to get back to discovering the stars, I'd also like to send you to "Old Icarus," a poem by Colin Pope, up now at Linebreak.

Lots to mull over there, eh?

17 comments:

Maureen said...

What wonderful work by Rafferty.

Oldham's images would be great prompts.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Maureen! I agree.

And thanks for ignoring the Hello Kitty rant! Really, I think Cordwainer Smith probably had a sense of humor as well as a love of cats.

Julie Kistler said...

My cat (much beloved) is neither wordless nor undemanding. He can say, "Meow" as well as "MEowwww" and some other sounds like purring and snarling and growling and suchlike. I think that character's projections of those qualities onto his cat says more about the character (like he is sad, pathetic and delusional) than the cat or science fiction in general.

Meanwhile, I am currently reading science fiction as well. It's a book called BELLWEATHER by Connie Willis. I enjoy her writing and I lovelovelove TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG (See? Dogs, not cats.) but this one involves a woman who studies trends and notes them all around her, and at the beginning, a new anti-smoking trend pops up and she ridicules it. Both the character and the author think it's idiotic, I mean. I am something of an anti-trendite myself, and, of course, all trends and movements can go too far, but... Banning smoking in one's workplace seems eminently sensible to me, and not the same as bobbing one's hair or buying a Hula Hoop just because everyone else is.

So there you are. Ridiculing anti-smoking campaigns worked for me as the "sharp, clever, unbelievably graceful, beautiful, wordless and undemanding cat" turn-off in BELLWETHER.

Kathleen said...

Indeed, Julie! I think you recommended To Say Nothing of the Dog to me earlier, and another friend, Rebecca, got addicted to Connie Willis, as I recall.

Well, if you are still in the middle of the book, it's possible the anti-anti-smoking ridicule will come back to bite this character...? Alas!

Emily said...

Have you heard of Simons' Cat? A guy put up a bunch of short cartoons' about a cat begging for food, begging to go inside, tearing up the Christmas tree, etc.

Kathleen said...

Yes, I have, Emily. But I have successfully ignored it.

Although I visited it just now, on your behalf, and I like Lupino.

Carol said...

I love Rafferty's The Man Who series of poems. They are so beautiful and well, sensual!

Kathleen said...

Carol, thanks for visiting. Yes, I hope he will do a whole book, or section of a book, of these...!

Sandy Longhorn said...

"quick beyond all dreams of speed, sharp, clever, unbelievably graceful, beautiful, wordless and undemanding." Yeah, so sounds like this guys dream woman...completely inaccurate for both cats and women...dream on, buddy. :)

I, too, loved the "Old Icarus" poem at Linebreak. Stellar.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for understanding me, Sandy, especially since you are in cat grief, which I understand, too, having been there, as well.

Nancy Devine said...

the poem Man on Break....wow! what a stunner.

Kathleen said...

He's really something, isn't he?!

Emily said...

Online things become hard to ignore if you know me. ;-)

What's Lupino?

Kathleen said...

Lupino was one of the cats I saw when I visited the Simon site.

toomuchaugust said...

oh my gosh, the way the stars align (never in a "straight" line, but still such that we can connect their dots...:) )

Kathleen said...

Pretty neato, Sherry!

Emily said...

Oh, okay, heh. The only cats I remember from Simons' Cat was Simons' Cat and Hugh.