Pets in Space is a new science fiction romance anthology in which I and eight other authors have stories about – pets in space!
We authors are trading blog posts.
Today Veronica Scott tells us about cats on Earth and across the stars.
I first encountered the concept of pets going into space in Andre Norton’s Solar Queen series, where the captain of the ship kept a very unpleasant blue, six-legged toad-parrot in a cage in his quarters and the Cargo Master had a tiger striped tom cat. Of course Ms. Norton also wrote many other science fiction stories where animals were featured, often as enhanced telepathic companions. Beast Master is one of the best. Catseye, which was actually the first Andre Norton book I ever read, has cats and other animals but they weren’t going into space – they were already on an alien planet. The crew of the Solar Queen, however, had their pets on board the ship.
Pair this with all the research I did into the sinking of the Titanic a few years ago, including the details of all the dogs on board (who sadly perished). I loosely based my novel Wreck of the Nebula Dream on the Titanic, but set in the far future on an interstellar liner.
So I was primed to write my own story with pets in space when Pauline Baird Jones and I first started discussing the possibility of putting together an anthology with this concept as the central theme. I’m a cat person, so of course Owen Embersson, the cargo master on my ship, has a cat named Moby, and I wanted to include an alien pet of unknown origin, so I took the ‘character ‘ of Midorri from my book Star Cruise: Outbreak and left her on the ship after the adventure in Outbreak concluded. Midorri is kind of a six legged, green puffball, equipped with a tail to rival a red tailed panda (my favorite Earthly animal after cats). And she purrs. Moby and Midorri pretty much have the run of the ship, which is useful to Owen as he attempts to watch over his stowaway and later to rescue her from the very bad guys.
I don’t think my cats Jake and Keanu would be all that effective in rescuing me and despite their efforts to brainwash me into feeding them more often, we have no telepathic link. I can’t imagine not having them to keep me company though, so it makes sense to me that when humanity moves out into the galaxy, we’ll take pets with us and find new pets to love as well.
Here’s a short excerpt from near the start of “Stowaway” as Owen Embersson knocks off work for the day:
Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.
Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.
In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”
Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Visit Veronica’s Blog to learn more about her books and her USAT HEA column.