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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Spacetime for Springers" by Fritz Leiber

First appeared in Frederik Pohl's Star Science Fiction Stories.  Reprinted in Judith Merril's Year's Greatest SF and Fantasy, in David G. Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer's Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment, and in Gardner Dozois' Modern Classics of Fantasy.  Available online--also an ebook as shown in picture.

Gummitch, a kitten with an IQ of 160--how it was measured, the narrator doesn't say--believes he will transform into a human.  The unintelligent, young children, though, will transform into cats.  He believes he was born in the folds of a bathrobe, for those are his earliest memories.  Gummitch wants to hurry the process along.

The reader feels for Gummitch, but his unreliability is a little odd.  On the one hand, he's smart enough to know something of literature--apparently well-read with a deep imagination--but on the other hand, he seems not to understand genetics, accepting the more fantastic explanation over the more likely mundane one.  Perhaps this is a critique of the genre, tending to reach for the cooler if less likely scenario--and/or of the religious.

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