by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
“He awoke and did not know where he was.
Flames were crackling fifty feet away. Woodsmoke stung his nose and brought tears. Somewhere, men were shouting and screaming. […]
He was in one end of a large building of gigantic logs, wooden pillars, and large overhead beams. Flames leaped along the wall toward him. The roof at the other end had just caved in, and the smoke was carried away by a vagary of the wind. He could see the sky outside. It was black, and then, far off, lightning flashed. About fifty yards away, lit by the flames, was a hill. On top of the hill were the silhouettes of trees. Fully leaved trees.
A moment ago, it had been winter. The deep snows had been piled around the buildings of the research center outside Syracuse, New York.” (p. 5)
The protagonist is Ulysses Singing Bear, a young scientist of native American descent in 1985 (fifteen years in the future when this book was published). He discovers that the fighting going on around him does not involve humans.
“The flames from the burning hall and from other buildings combined to illuminate the scene. Furry legs and tails, white and black and brown, danced around. The legs were human and yet not human. They bent queerly; they looked like the hind legs of four-footed animals that had decided to stand upright, like men, and so had evolved half-human, half-beast legs.
The owner of a pair of legs fell flat on his back, a spear stuck in his belly. The man became even more confused and shocked. The creature looked like a cross between a human being and a sealpoint Siamese cat. The body fur was white; the face below the forehead was black; the lower part of the arms, legs and the tail were black. The face was as flat as any human’s, but the nose was round and black, like a cat’s, and the ears were black and pointed. The mouth, open in death, revealed sharp feline teeth.” (p. 6) Read the rest of this entry »