The above list ranks this as a major story in the field. Interestingly, not only is this important, but Cadigan lists it as a forefather to cyberpunk and Hartwell/Cramer to space opera. It is due in large part to its inventiveness--inventive with amazing if dizzying economy:
"Pinlighting is a hell of a way to earn a living."What kind of occupation is Pinlighting?
Girl = cat?"As he waited for the pin-set to warm up, he remembered the girl in the outer corridor. She had looked at it, then looked at him scornfully.
"As he relaxed, the comforting solidity of the Sun, the clock-work of the familiar planets and the Moon rang in on him."
Underhill pinlights with his cat, where they mind-meld and hunt creatures they call dragons in space. Only cats are fast enough to kill the dragons. They kill off dragons.
Curiously, like Fredric Brown's "Mouse", the cat measures favorably against women (hinted at in the above, early quote.
Tobias Buckell recently did a semi-controversial homage to Smith at Lightspeed: "A Game of Rats and Dragon".
- Gary K. Wolfe's "Mythic Structures in Cordwainer Smith's 'The Game of Rat and Dragon' " [Science Fiction Studies]