Only partners could fight this deadliest ofwars—and the one way to dissolve thepartnership was to be personally dissolved!
rtners for the trip. By senior rights, he took first draw.
* * * * *
He grimaced. He had drawn a greedy old character, a tough old male whose mind was full of slobbering thoughts of food, veritable oceans full of half-spoiled fish. Father Moontree had once said that he burped cod liver oil for weeks after drawing that particular glutton, so strongly had the telepathic image of fish impressed itself upon his mind. Yet the glutton was a glutton for danger as well as for fish. He had killed sixty-three Dragons, more than any other Partner in the service, and was quite literally worth his weight in gold.
The little girl West came next. She drew Captain Wow. When she saw who it was, she smiled.
"I like him," she said. "He's such fun to fight with. He feels so nice and cuddly in my mind."
"Cuddly, hell," said Woodley. "I've been in his mind, too. It's the most leering mind in this ship, bar none."
"Nasty man," said the little girl. She said it declaratively, withou
The Game of Rat and Dragon is a popular addition to many science fiction anthologies illustrating not only the Golden Age of Science Fiction, but of the gifted talent of writer Cordwainer Smith (1913-1966)
This story deals with a far future where interstellar spaceships are crewed by humans telepathically linked with cats to defend against the attacks of malevolent entities in space.
The characters are memorable and the battle scene, though way too short, is exciting enough for the most jaded reader.
Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger aka cordwainer smith was an early contributor to the "golden age" of science fiction. the worlds were fabulous and well-fleshed but it was the people and their ethical dilemmas that always were at the center of the stories.
this story is good introduction to the worlds he created. if you liked this, there are more stories of his out there...