Science Fiction World is a Chinese magazine reputed to have the single largest SF readership in the world. Thanks to the excellent work of translator Geng Hui–who is renowned for his translations of such luminaries as Ted Chiang, Kate Wilhelm, and Ursula K. LeGuin–my Armored story “Transfer of Ownership” will appear in SFW in 2014.
Many thanks to Geng Hui for his work on this, and to Ken Liu for introducing my work to him.
When I met Norm Sherman at Worldcon he mentioned that he’d really enjoyed “The Revelation of Morgan Stern” in Shimmer #16, and asked if he could run it on one of his podcasts. Naturally, I said yes, and sent it over when I got home. I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t even realize it had been released until yesterday!
Norm always does a great job, and this is no exception. (I love that he gave a nod to the Shimmer team for putting together such a great magazine.) And the art that accompanies it! Jerel Dye‘s illustration is wonderful.
In June we went to the local cattery and fell in love with this tiny, sickly little black smoke kitten with sea-green eyes named Yoda. Yoda let me pick him up, pet him, carry him around, and was generally a very mild-mannered and sweet kitten. Yoda was from a household that refused to neuter their pets, and so Yoda and his sister were both deeply inbred and had chronic health problems which the shelter felt made them unadoptable. His sister was easily recognizable, being twice his size, and very skittish, more feral than not–she would bolt if anyone took even a step toward her. But Yoda was mellow and sweet. He’d had a rough go, in and out of cages his whole life, and we believed that we could give him a good home.
We went back for Yoda the following week. He had recently been back in isolation again due to illness, and had been taken from his original home not once but twice, so initially it didn’t seem odd to me that he was perhaps a little more hidey than last time we saw him. Getting him into the carrier was a challenge–he was really trying hard not to be caught. At one point I went and looked for his sister to make sure we had the right cat. But there she was, on the highest perch in the sun porch, so Yoda was probably just having a bad day. Linda, the woman who runs the shelter, emailed one of her volunteers who had taken a liking to Yoda to give her the good news. Then she gave us the single piece of paper that they had as documentation on him and sent us on our way.
Yoda had a much harder time adapting to his new home than we anticipated. He hissed and hid, and even after the first couple of weeks when he was finally willing to come out while I was in the room, he’d bolt and hide again if I moved toward him. Unfortunately he had a persistent upper respiratory infection and I knew we absolutely had to get him to the vet. In the process of getting him into the carrier he completely wrecked my office and bit the living hell out of my hand (documented here–PSA: CAT BITES ARE NOT TRIVIAL). We now refer to the incident as the Murder Attempt, or The Time Yoda Tried to Kill Me. He acquired the nicknames “Murderkitten” and “the Manticore” after that.
Frankly, my feelings were hurt–he seemed to like and trust me at the shelter, but clearly he no longer did. All I could do was try to be patient, give him his space, and let him work out our relationship on his terms. After a couple of months he finally found his voice, and became a very vocal little thing. He is getting to know the dogs, who he has absolutely no fear of. He’s taken a few tentative steps out of the office. He even lets us pet him, if he’s in a very specific spot on the bookcase and sleepy enough. From where he was in June, this is all massive progress.
Except that this isn’t Yoda.
John went to the cattery two weeks ago and showed them video of Yoda being his newly-talkative self.
“That’s not Yoda,” said the woman who had sent him home with us. “That’s his sister. Yoda is still here.”
Remember in Good Omens, how Crowley was responsible for the proper placement of Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C, one of whom was the Anti-Christ?
Yep. There was a third kitten, the same size as Yoda, but as skittish and fearful as their other sister. We hadn’t seen her on any of our previous visits, because she was a very talented hider. That’s the cat we came home with.
Linda said that there was a lot of confusion when her volunteer returned to work.
“I thought you adopted Yoda out?” the conversation began.
“I did! Two weeks ago.”
“I don’t think so…Yoda’s still here.”
“No, I’m certain. They said it was him, too.”
“I’m pretty sure Yoda is still in room 7.”
After a couple of days of observation, they were sure of it.
“So who did I send home with them?!” Linda asked.
“It must have been Amber.”
We all adapted quickly: Amber–formerly Yoda, lately the Manticore–had her nickname shortened to Cora, and plans were made to go back for her brother. Yesterday we did. He’s grown a lot in the past three months–he’s longer, but still sick, severely underweight and lanky. He’s still sweet and just kind of bewildered. He’s currently in isolation in Grace’s room, where he’s made a perfectly snug hideyhole for himself in the folds of an egg-crate mattress being stored beside the little sofa.
So, a happy ending. And there’s more: Cora’s case of mistaken identity got her a home in the nick of time. This week their larger and more capable sister was moved to the feral sanctuary, where she’ll spend the rest of her life. Cora would have gone with her, had she been there. Instead she’s here with me, with a new planter of cat grass to nibble on, a comfy sofa to nap on and sneeze all over, and a bunch of humans who hang on her every meow.