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All Cats Are Gray

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Author: Andre Norton
Published: 1953
Language: English
Wordcount: 3,853 / 18 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 56.6
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 16,293
Added to site: 2009.06.02 24342

Under normal conditions a whole person has a decided advantage over a handicapped one. But out in deep space the normal may be reversed--for humans at any rate.

Show Excerpt

t sitting there listening to the talk--listening and remembering. She didn't open her own mouth often. But when she did spacers had learned to listen. And the lucky few who heard her rare spoken words--these will never forget Steena.

She drifted from port to port. Being an expert operator on the big calculators she found jobs wherever she cared to stay for a time. And she came to be something like the master-minded machines she tended--smooth, gray, without much personality of her own.

But it was Steena who told Bub Nelson about the Jovan moon-rites--and her warning saved Bub's life six months later. It was Steena who identified the piece of stone Keene Clark was passing around a table one night, rightly calling it unworked Slitite. That started a rush which made ten fortunes overnight for men who were down to their last jets. And, last of all, she cracked the case of the Empress of Mars.

All the boys who had profited by her queer store of knowledge and her photographic memory tried at one time or another to balance the scales. But she wouldn't take so much as a cup of Canal water at their expense, let alone the credits

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.4 from 9 reviews: ****
Paulo Respighi

A sci-fi short story with a strong female character, clearly written by a woman. You can tell the difference between a story like this and, say, The Kenzie Report, with all men. Very well done with all the characters (including the cat) well-constructed, good descriptions and a tight plot.

A mismatched man, woman, and her cat go in search of a haunted, derelict space luxury liner. The danger starts when they find it. The story will keep your attention.


I loved this story.


short but interesting


Not bad, not great, but at least it is very short. Norton writes much more interesting stuff than this story would suggest.


I enjoy finding these old sci fi works on this site. While this is not Andre Norton's best it is worth a read.


An excellent short story by one of sci-fi's great writers. Creepy and it kept me up for some time!!

Andrew Ives

Well-written sci-fi, but just too crazy for my liking.

Dick Thornton

A very short, very well-written story by a master sci-fi author.


The Empress of Mars is a rich prize. She is derelict, and her crew has disappeared.
A hardbitten spacer and his female partner along with her cat try for the salvage. Good thing she is color blind and so's the cat (named Bat), because they alone can see the nasty aliens who disposed of the crew of the Empress and are now lurking and ready to attack. So the cat sees them and spazzes, and she sees and shoots them. That's all there is to that. Good thing they didn't bring an eagle along.



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