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Catspaw (1988)

by Joan D. Vinge

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cat Series (2)

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8331118,934 (3.99)29
The telepathic orphan and future punk Cat is kidnapped, taken to Earth, and forced to protect those he hates most, the taMings, until he discovers that he is not a bodyguard, he is the bait. Reissue. PW. K.
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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A sequel to Psion but a very different book. Though taking placing only a few years after Psion, both the character's maturity, writing, and themes have advanced by decades. I believe this was lumped in with all the other cyberpunk novels that followed Neuromancer in the 1980's. There is an indeed a trip through cyberspace. It's probably the weakest section of the book. But overall it's much closer to cyberpunk's roots in hard-boiled detective fiction. As with such fiction, his client is an incredibly wealthy family with all kinds of secrets, the bad guys have great power, his slum-born habits and attitude cause friction constantly, several beautiful women sleep with him, he gets beaten up pretty badly, and he eventually saves the day. Despite checking all the boxes, Vinge manages to make the story's main character unique and sympathetic, and the plot chugs along nicely.

Recommended, even if you weren't fond of Psion. ( )
1 vote ChrisRiesbeck | Aug 31, 2019 |
I picked this book up before realizing it was book #2 of a series, stopped midway to read "Psion," then finished this last night--at 5am. In this addictive series, Vinge shows deep character growth for Cat. "Catspaw" offers a Cat who is less angry and more focused on carving out a life for himself. But his awareness that the world is willing to grind him under a boot heel is never far from his thoughts.

There is more political intrigue in this novel--plots within plots, and Cat has to learn to navigate them to keep himself and others alive. What keeps it compelling, though, is that everything is filtered through Cat's emotional and psychological struggles. Violence is not simply an action piece; it's insight into Cat's social status and his efforts to put his past--and his overwhelming feelings of helplessness--behind him. Even the sexual encounters are not there for the sake of titillation or overwrought romance--they're about power, loneliness, and fear.

"Psion" is more of a coming-of-age SF adventure story, with Cat as an anti-hero. "Catspaw" is dominated by political intrigue with elements of cyberpunk. Also, "Catspaw," shows a Cat who has grown emotionally, and is a more sympathetic character. I recommend both, but "Catspaw can be read as a stand-alone book. The events of "Psion" are integrated into "Catspaw" as a rich backstory. These two books have guaranteed that I'll check out every novel Vinge has written--sadly, far too few. ( )
  Malora | Jan 18, 2016 |
This sequel to Psion again sees Cat charting his own course in the face of some very powerful people. Choices are made. People do terrible things, and wonderful things. No one is what they seem. Except Daric, who really is that much of an asshole.

This book contains one very 1980s trip through cyberspace.

Overall, great worldbuilding, larger than life characters, and a compelling plot. ( )
  lavaturtle | Feb 13, 2015 |
I think I've re-read this book at least once a year for the last ten years. I can honestly say that it is one of my all time favorites! ( )
  Naity-sama | Jul 20, 2012 |
I'm re-reading some older science fiction lately & couldn't pass this by. Joan D. Vinge is a wonderful, feminist cyberpunk author - also an anthropologist. There are 3 books in this series - Psion (Cat), Catspaw, & Dreamfall (Cat). All worth the read (& frequently found in the Young Adults section of the library).

Vinge creates interesting worlds people with interesting people who do interesting things & what more can you want, eh? ( )
  kraaivrouw | Apr 5, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joan D. Vingeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Deutsch, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puckey, DonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snow, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(With his glared off face glued back into position
A dead man's eyes plugged back into his sockets
A dead man's heart screwed in under his ribs
His tattered guts stitched back into position
His shattered brains covered with a steel cowl)
He comes forward a step,
and a step,
and a step---
---Ted Hughes
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune,
afraid of death, and afraid of each other.

---Ralph Waldo Emerson
To understand a cat, you must prealize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality.

---Lillian Jackson Braun
This one's for you, kid.
You know who you are.
First words
Someone was after me.
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The telepathic orphan and future punk Cat is kidnapped, taken to Earth, and forced to protect those he hates most, the taMings, until he discovers that he is not a bodyguard, he is the bait. Reissue. PW. K.

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