Customer Reviews for

Catalyst: A Tale of the Barque Cats

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

fans will enjoy the opening Barque Cat caper.

The Barque Cats are extremely valuable because they keep vermin off space ships and are adept at finding oxygen leaks or other hazardous gases as well as just keeping people on board the vessel safe. Thomas's Duchess, known as Chessie and her human companion Janina, wh...
The Barque Cats are extremely valuable because they keep vermin off space ships and are adept at finding oxygen leaks or other hazardous gases as well as just keeping people on board the vessel safe. Thomas's Duchess, known as Chessie and her human companion Janina, whose title on the ship is Cat Person, dock on Head Station, where a pregnant Chessie goes for a check-up. Janina and Dr. Jared Vlest fly down to the planet Sherwood to look at the animals that need care.

A con artist Carlton Pontius aka Ponty steals Chessie and brings her to his farm on Sherwood as she is worth a fortune especially with a coming litter of Barque kittens. He gives Chessie to his son Jubal who takes care of her and her litter. Chessie loves all of her offspring, but the kitten Chester bonds with Jubal. Chessie needs to reunite with her Cat Person Janina. Unfortunately, they cannot, as a "supposed" plague has arrived leading to the impounding of all animals and those exposed (even the Barque cats). They will be executed. Janina and her allies try to free their companions, but an alien feline Pshaw-Ra with psionic power wants to take the cats to his planet so they can begin the universal domination of the known universe.

This is the first tale of a duology that contains the usual strong outer space world building, a trademark of the authors who make a whole galaxy seem real. The Sparkles plague is caused by a harmless beetle but the GG scientists refused to accept a simple explanation. The point of view is told mostly by various feline characters, but it comes across as believable and as important not simplistic cute as the cats understand their troubles. The humans are for the most part empathetic especially Janina and cranky Ponty who has his own pet cat. Although the audience will need to wait for the second entry to see whether Chessie and Chester have more than one life each, fans will enjoy the opening Barque Cat caper.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on November 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Science Fiction and Cat Lovers Take Notice

Catalyst was a fast read and was a fast pick based upon my love of science fiction and cats. The plot was a bit predictable but none the less I enjoyed reading this book during my vacation and would recommend it to those who do not take science fiction to seriously. A...
Catalyst was a fast read and was a fast pick based upon my love of science fiction and cats. The plot was a bit predictable but none the less I enjoyed reading this book during my vacation and would recommend it to those who do not take science fiction to seriously. A great read for children as well.

posted by BrainiacDR on April 18, 2010

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    fans will enjoy the opening Barque Cat caper.

    The Barque Cats are extremely valuable because they keep vermin off space ships and are adept at finding oxygen leaks or other hazardous gases as well as just keeping people on board the vessel safe. Thomas's Duchess, known as Chessie and her human companion Janina, whose title on the ship is Cat Person, dock on Head Station, where a pregnant Chessie goes for a check-up. Janina and Dr. Jared Vlest fly down to the planet Sherwood to look at the animals that need care.

    A con artist Carlton Pontius aka Ponty steals Chessie and brings her to his farm on Sherwood as she is worth a fortune especially with a coming litter of Barque kittens. He gives Chessie to his son Jubal who takes care of her and her litter. Chessie loves all of her offspring, but the kitten Chester bonds with Jubal. Chessie needs to reunite with her Cat Person Janina. Unfortunately, they cannot, as a "supposed" plague has arrived leading to the impounding of all animals and those exposed (even the Barque cats). They will be executed. Janina and her allies try to free their companions, but an alien feline Pshaw-Ra with psionic power wants to take the cats to his planet so they can begin the universal domination of the known universe.

    This is the first tale of a duology that contains the usual strong outer space world building, a trademark of the authors who make a whole galaxy seem real. The Sparkles plague is caused by a harmless beetle but the GG scientists refused to accept a simple explanation. The point of view is told mostly by various feline characters, but it comes across as believable and as important not simplistic cute as the cats understand their troubles. The humans are for the most part empathetic especially Janina and cranky Ponty who has his own pet cat. Although the audience will need to wait for the second entry to see whether Chessie and Chester have more than one life each, fans will enjoy the opening Barque Cat caper.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Easy intro to sci-fi

    Catalyst is an intriguing story, but unless you have been owned by a cat you may not appreciate it completely. It may be more of a young adult book, but it makes for an enjoyable light read. I've read both the PERN series and the Crystal Singer series. I recommend this book for someone who may be a little intimidated about jumping into the science fiction (you know, that whole "science" part). The technology is definately in the background and you can just sit back and enjoy hearing what cats really think of us.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    Science Fiction and Cat Lovers Take Notice

    Catalyst was a fast read and was a fast pick based upon my love of science fiction and cats. The plot was a bit predictable but none the less I enjoyed reading this book during my vacation and would recommend it to those who do not take science fiction to seriously. A great read for children as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    Favorite author!

    Barque cats are one of my favorite characters in Anne's writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    A fun read for cat lovers--Check it out!

    I found this book utterly delightful, from the outset. The authors are wonderful story weavers who know how to keep the action going and provide hours of fun and entertainment. I'm so looking forward to reading the sequel, CATACOMBS, to see what is next in this action-packed fantasy adventure!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    Great!

    Anne McCaffrey is one of my favorite authors! Despite the fact that I don't love everything she writes. For instance, I just can't get into her Crystal Singers series, and her "Freedom's" series has left me cold. But her Pern series, almost all of her one-off stand-alone books, and Sasnik series I throurally enjoy! Thankfully her stinkers are VERY few and far between.

    Starting Catalyst, I had great hopes for the series, but then within the few chapters my hopes seemed to be dashed. We seemed to be dealing with superintelligent cats who's origins were unknown, but who could not only understand human speech, but also spoke to each other, and who's gift of understanding and speech seemed to cross all animal barriers. AND it seemed that even normal cats enjoyed this special enhancement.

    It seemed to me that too many of the animals in this world shared this type of bond, and was streatching credibility past it's breaking point.

    BUT... Anne pulls it back out of the fire, not by reigning in her apparently SuperIntelligent cats, but by going all in!

    All this against a backdrop of an unknown Plague, political shenanigans, and business manuverings that threaten to destroy not just the loveable and loyal Barque Cat''s, but every animal in the known universe!

    Anne hit's another home with this series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Excellant

    Love McCaffrey Books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Cats

    Yea i agree and curse anyone who hates them

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    CATS ARE AWESOME

    CATS ARE THE BEST ANIMALS IN THE WORLD THEY ARE SO INTELIGENT AND JUST AWESOME IF YOU DONT LIKE CATS YOU ARE A HORIBLE PERSON AND NEED TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE BECAUSE CATS ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    Amazing

    This amazing book is perfect for all.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    It's an "OK" read

    I truly enjoy Anne McCaffrey's books and have read just about all of them. This new series starts out with a fairly light story, easy to read and entertaining. It is certainly not the most exciting or dramatic story out there, but I will probably read the sequels to see how the relationships and story play out.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    an alien oinvaded cat

    The character of the alien was mismatched to a cat. disappointed

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 31, 2011

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