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For He Can Creep: A Tor.com Original Kindle Edition
A LOCUS AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST NOVELETTE
A Tor.com original, Siobhan Carroll's For He Can Creep is a dark fantasy story of poetry, devilry, and cats in a battle of good vs. evil for the fate of humanity.
Nineteenth century poet Christopher Smart has been committed to St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics believing God has commissioned him to write The Divine Poem. But years earlier, he made a bargain with Satan and the devil has come to collect his due--a poem that will bring about the apocalypse.
Saving Smart's soul, and the rest of the world, falls to Jeoffry, the poet's demon-fighting cat and a creature of cunning Satan would be a fool to underestimate...
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
- ASIN : B07T3WLDS8
- Publisher : Tor Books (July 10, 2019)
- Publication date : July 10, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 1830 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 26 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #121,837 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2020
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For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
— Christopher Smart, "Jubilate Agno"
This is a short story about a cat fighting the devil for the soul of a poet, written in a heightened, baroque style, with whimsy and wit and grace.
In short, this was a story that was written specifically for me and no one else. One of my all time favorite short stories is Neil Gaiman's "The Price," and you could almost read this as a sort of prequel: an origin story about cats fighting the devil to protect the people they tolerate (for of course cats would never go so low as to say they love them). So it just hit all the right notes for me, and I ended up utterly loving it, when I expected to just be amused by it.
Carroll finishes the story with casual mentions of all the other exploits her cohort of cats have undertaken over the years, and I would love to read each and every one.
Jeoffry has the advantage of being able to come and go.
Jeoffry also has the ability to see, and fight with, the demons that haunt the asylum. He can easily chase off the demons and imps that normally haunt the asylum. Satan, though, is a greater challenge.
Years ago, long before his commission from God, Christopher Smart had made a bargain with Satan that seemed unimportant at the time. Satan did him some favors, and in return, Smart promised him a poem, also.
Satan has arrived to demand that Smart finally write and deliver his poem.
Jeoffry, champion of the streets and torment of demons and imps, has a new challenge. It starts with resisting Satan's blandishments. But even if he can, he'll still need to fight, and defeat, Satan.
How can one cat do that?
Jeoffry is as arrogant and independent as any good street cat should be. He's also clever, and tricky, and has friends as clever and tricky as he is.
I really liked Jeoffry and his friends. Satan is properly impressive, and Christopher Smart properly values his loyal friend, Jeoffry.
I received this story as part of the Hugo Voters packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.
Siobhan Carroll launches a letter-perfect novella from an 18th century poem with the grace and accuracy of a hunting cat. Told from the viewpoint of the Great Jeoffry - as it should be! - comes a _ _ __ed fine story of temptation and redemption. Learn how love of his human, the poet Christopher Smart, led Jeoffry to engage Polly, Black Tom and the Nighthunter Moppet in cunning defense against the Devil (and his wig).
Please, Ms. Carroll, may I have some more? Oops, wrong century, right sentiment.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
And Siobhan Carroll writes a story suitable for an eccentric 18th-century literati and illuminati like Christopher Smart, from the point of view of his cocky cat, like this: "Nevertheless, the devil made a grave mistake when he annoyed Jeoffry. He will pay for his insolence." She writes a cool devil, too, tricky and seductive and powerful and malevolent, but in his way not a bad sport. Like this:
"'Is anything truly ours?' The devil sighs and examines his claws. He is simultaneously a monstrous serpent, a mighty angel, and a handsome black cat with whiskers the color of starlight. The cat's whiskers are singed, the serpent's scales are scarred, and the angel's brow is heavy with an ancient grievance, and yet he is still beautiful, in his way. 'But more of this later. Jeoffry, I have come to converse with you. Will you not take a walk with me?'"
Anyway, the story soon has Jeoffry and friends (including a formidable "cat" called the Nighthunter Moppet) taking on Satan and imps while the cat's earnest but rather gormless master works on a poem...
It was a fun read! Cat lovers should love it! Poetry lovers, too (though I wish there'd been more of Smart's poety and less action). But I forgot pretty much all about reading it until two months later (now) Amazon suggested I write a review of it.
**I read the Kindle version and noticed not typos etc.**
Top reviews from other countries
“He has learned that there is more than one kind of devil, and that the one inside your head, that speaks with the voice of your own heart, is far more dangerous than the velvet coat–wearing, poetry-loving variety.”