Sonya, Crane Wessleman and Kittee


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'Sonya, Crane Wessleman and Kittee', an even older [than 'Westwind'] tale, is a magazine story in a special sense. In those days I was crazy about dogs, and I used to subscribe to Dog World, devoted to purebreds. When I had read twenty issues or more, it struck me that models were never employed to sell the dogs advertised on its pages, as they are to peddle cars, perfume, and virtually every other product. Or rather, that the models were the dogs pictured in the ads, the champion fox terriers, rottweilers, or whatever. For a long time I'd realized that the most attractive thing in most ads was the model."


Sonya, a poor and attractive middle-aged woman, forms a liaison with Crane Wessleman, a slightly older and wealthy single man whose acquaintance she has made accidentally. She finds (to her distaste) that Wessleman has a companion, Kittee, who is a human-like creature engineered from animal "germ plasm". Sonya keeps visiting Wessleman as he declines, in the hope of a legacy. Eventually she finds him dead, his leg partly eaten by Kittee.


  • It's not stated whether Wessleman's relationship with Kittee is a sexual one, but it seems that on learning of Kittee Sonya abandons hopes of marrying him herself.
  • Germ plasm was once theorized as the cell component responsible for heredity, but since the discovery of DNA this usage is archaic. The story is set in what appears to be our future (helicopters are used as buses), but timings are deliberately blurred.
  • The genetic engineering of animals to be more human-like is reminiscent of H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Unresolved Questions

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