- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (Aug. 1967)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140303154
- ISBN-13: 978-0140303155
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 1.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,887,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Catseye (Puffin Books) Paperback – 1 Aug 1967
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Troy escapes with some 'special animals' from a strange petshop on an alien world.
Top Customer Reviews
Despite their protection, however, Korwar isn't untouched. During the great war between the Council and Confederation governments (its aftermath appears in several books, such as DARK PIPER), the capital city of Tikil became the site of a refugee camp. After the war, those whose worlds were gone, whether destroyed or traded away at the peace table, had nowhere else to go, so the refugee camp became the Dipple, an unofficial 3rd face of Tikil making an ugly contrast to the expensive haunts of tourists or even the working city of the spaceport and warehouse district. The Dipple is a perennial problem, and CATSEYE follows Troy Horan, brought to this sterile warren as a youngster from the plains of Norden. There are only three options open to a Dipple-dweller: attempting to join the Thieves' Guild (as Ziantha of FORERUNNER FORAY escaped), signing on as indentured labor for a frontier world (as Niall of JUDGEMENT ON JANUS did), or scraping by without sub-citizenship by competing in the very tight casual labor market, as Horan does. Consequently, while the protagonists of FORERUNNER FORAY and JUDGEMENT ON JANUS also came from the Dipple, Troy Horan's story is the first to concentrate on Tikil and Korwar - the other tales leave the planet early in the story.Read more ›
There is a lot of description of this world and its machinery, but Troy gradually comes to know the small animals - cats, foxes, a kinkajou which likes to sit on his shoulder - and one of the cats begins a telepathic communication with him, after which he realises that a plot is in progress.
Older kids and young adults will enjoy this well-described tale.
You may also like a book called Star Dog about a race of spacefaring dogs that accidentally loses a member on Earth.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Far, far into mankind's future, when humankind has spread out into the stars from the original planet of Terra and encountered other races...Young Troy Horan is a refugee/displaced person due to war, living the shadow life of an unwanted, non-citizen in the Dipple camp. His world and past life has gone forever and he has no future. The elite and powerbrokers of the galaxy, gathered on the pleasure planet of Korwar, prefer to ignore the unpleasant truth of the Dipple under their noses.
One day, Troy has the unbelievable luck to secure some temporary day work in a luxury pet shop. While there, he stumbles on a mystery that could cost him his life, and he goes on the run with the special sentient luxury pets he has discovered he can communicate with in the petshop.
Who can Troy trust? He and his Terran animal friends hold a dangerous secret, and various interested and powerful parties now set off in pursuit of Troy and his friends as they escape into the highly protected nature wilderness that comprises most of Korwar, and finally into the mysterious, forbidden and sealed ruins of a previous race which existed on Korwar. The ruins are officially sealed for a reason - can the escapees survive their pursuers and what lurks within?
Language and content are appropriate for children/young adults. In addition, the writing and plot is at an extremely high level, appealing to adult readers as well. Some themes are environmentalism, power, war, refugees and animal rights. One of my favourite SF books still, as an adult reader. Also one for cat lovers.
Despite their protection, however, Korwar isn't untouched. During the great war between the Council and Confederation governments (its aftermath appears in several books, such as DARK PIPER), the capital city of Tikil became the site of a refugee camp. After the war, those whose worlds were gone, whether destroyed or traded away at the peace table, had nowhere else to go, so the refugee camp became the Dipple, an unofficial 3rd face of Tikil making an ugly contrast to the expensive haunts of tourists or even the working city of the spaceport and warehouse district. The Dipple is a perennial problem, and CATSEYE follows Troy Horan, brought to this sterile warren as a youngster from the plains of Norden. There are only three options open to a Dipple-dweller: attempting to join the Thieves' Guild (as Ziantha of FORERUNNER FORAY escaped), signing on as indentured labor for a frontier world (as Niall of JUDGEMENT ON JANUS did), or scraping by without sub-citizenship by competing in the very tight casual labor market, as Horan does. Consequently, while the protagonists of FORERUNNER FORAY and JUDGEMENT ON JANUS also came from the Dipple, Troy Horan's story is the first to concentrate on Tikil and Korwar - the other tales leave the planet early in the story.
On the morning the story opens, Troy has incredible luck - the assigner has a job for someone with "knowledge of animals", and Troy's reply that he has that of a Norden herd rider lands him indefinite employment at Kyger's pet shop, which provides exotic pets as status symbols for the rich. Troy's initial worries about the decade separating him from any contact with animals aren't a problem - his initial work assignment to help retrieve some new acquisitions from the port lengthens when an attempted hijack en route puts a full-time Kyger employee temporarily out of action.
But why would anyone try to hijack a shipment of exotic animals bound for a life as pets - even as pets of the Gentle Fem San duk Var, rich and influential though she is? Delivering a fussel hawk and accompanying its first hunting expedition with a Ranger of Korwar (and giving us our first glimpse not only of Korwar's huge unspoiled nature preserves, but of the mysterious Forerunner ruins of Ruhkarv) leaves him with an impression that Korwar's guardians are taking an unusual interest in what is, after all, only a pet shop. After all, it's not *illegal* to convince credulous rich people that their little darlings can't survive without special diets, available from Kyger's. :)
Then the routine of delivering special pet food to a Sattor Commander's beloved kinkajou is disrupted by murder - and Troy covers the kinkajou's odd behavior with a plausible story for the police. He finds himself wondering just how intelligent these animals are - and whether he should ally himself with Kyger, who may provide a permanent escape from the Dipple, or with a certain cats-eye view of the world.
(Ruhkarv, and the disastrous fate of the last archeological team ever allowed in the place, are mentioned in some of Norton's other works - DREAD COMPANION mentions it in passing, while a Zacathan scholar in BROTHER TO SHADOWS attempts an experiment with a revised version of the device that brought final disaster to the Ruhkarv team - but CATSEYE provides more information about Ruhkarv than any other story to date.)
In this novel, ten year later, Troy Horan has only his wide Range Master belt and a few memories to remind him of Norden. Now he is working as a casual laborer in Tikil. One morning, he is offered a job by the mechanical assigner and accepts it. Today he will escape the Dipple for a few hours.
Troy reports for work at Kyger's, a purveyor of extraordinary pets. On his first day, he frustrates an attempt to steal a pair of Terran cats. Supervisor Zul -- a full-blooded Bushman -- is wounded in the attempt and Kyger offers Troy a seven day contract to fill in for the injured man.
During the incident, Troy receives a warning in mindspeech from the cats. Later, he approaches their cage and exchanges a few thoughts. He conceals these communications from his employer and co-workers since he is not really sure what has happened.
Troy has an affinity for animals and does especially well with the fussel hawk, a hunting bird from Norden. He is asked to accompany a customer into the wild to prove the bird's qualities. He will spend three days in the company of Rerne, a high ranking member of the Hunter Clans.
Before this excursion, Troy is sent to a hillside villa to deliver special food for a pet kinkajou owned by Commander Varan Di. Since the Commander had just been murdered, the patrollers warn off his flitter, but allow him to continue after he explains his errand. As he is approaching the villa, the pet runs away from a patroller carrying it out of the building and leaps into Troy's arms.
The patrollers are upset at finding the pet rummaging through the Commander's papers. Troy points out that the kinkajou is a very imitative animal and his probably copying his master's habitual routine. While he is talking to the patrollers, the kinkajoy is pleading with him in mindspeech to take it away from the estate. Eventually, the patrollers tell him to return the pet to Kyger's shop and they fly away.
In this story, Troy finds that a pair of Terran foxes can also talk to him in mindspeech. He even overhears a conversation between the animals and their master. He begins to suspect Kyger of some form of espionage. Then Kyger is murdered and Zul tries to kill these animals. Troy steals a flitter and flees into the wilderness with the five Terran animals.
Troy and the animals are followed by Kyger's associates and the flitter is forced down in the 'accursed place' of Ruhkarv. Now they are hunted not only by Zul and his men, but also by the rangers of the Hunter Clans. They travel deep within the alien ruins and find much to fear therein.
This story is a precursor to the Beast Master series. Although Fors has mental communications with the great hunting cat Lura in Star Man's Son, this tale depicts a team of human and animals. Unlike Storm Hosteen's beastmaster team, however, Troy's group is more accidental than intentional. But it is still a combined force against their enemies.
Highly recommended for Norton fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of human-beast teamwork, future cultures, and high adventure.
-Arthur W. Jordin