The Cat

Publication(s)

  • First publication
    • 1983 World Fantasy Convention program book
  • Wolfe collection(s)
  • Other anthologies
    • The Year's Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection, 1984
    • Magicats!, 1985

Summary

A cat put through Father Inire's mirrors becomes an invisible companion to a woman in the autarch's palace.

Analysis

  • This story is set in the world of the Book of the New Sun. It references Severian as autarch. Odilo the Steward becomes an important figure in Urth of the New Sun. Another side of the Leocadia story appears in chapter 15 of The Claw of the Conciliator.
  • The cat is gray with stripes of darker gray, like Tenniel's illustration of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. It becomes invisible like that cat. Father Inire's interest in children and telling them stories is like Lewis Carroll, the author of the Alice stories. The doll-like child also seems like a reference to Alice, who shrunk in the story.
  • Sources of quotes
  • Meanings of names
  • References to other works
  • Theories about what happens under the surface, what the narrator isn't telling us, who the narrator is and when and why s/he is telling the story, what the whole thing "means," etc.
    If there are multiple or competing theories, each one should be given a name with a three-bang (!!!) header; if the page begins to get out-of-hand from the size of these, as could happen in a few cases, they should be shuffled off to their own page(s).
  • Etc.

Unresolved Questions

  • Was it A or was it B, or was it X or Z?
  • Was it he or was it she, or was it you or me?
  • Who dunnit?
  • Did the Star Child really start WWIII at the end of 2001?

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