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First, this anthology contains a lot of varied stories about cats. At least in name. Some have to do with groups named after cats, reference them, and or have no cats at all. Some stories are about cats, some are from the perspective of cats. Basically, if you can figure out how to write something about/involving/naming a cat, it might be in here.
Now, that said, I'm just going to review a few of my favorites and then a few that I felt were really weak to keep this review short and give people some idea what to expect:
Cat Futures - Lawrence M. Schoen: 4.5 stars - A very fun story about a prophetic feline, heart-warming, creative, thoughtful.
The Path to Kahinae - R.R. Virdi: 5 stars - A fantastic wandering hero story with no cats but the promise of them. Jungles, mystique, action, beautiful writing.
Cat Got Your Tongue - Kate Pickford: 4.5 stars: Clever, funny, filled with great references.
Rules - Yudhanjaya Wijeratne: 5 stars: Well-written, creative, made me think a lot
* * *
Stories I didn't enjoy or felt were weak
Can we keep it? - Mark Stallings: 2.5 stars - Almost DNF'd
Lead Me Not Into Temptation - Craig Martelle: 2.5 stars Weak, felt jittery in places, I felt there was no incentive to read the story besides the obvious attempt at cat humor and what the cats thought was trouble.
Chapalu - Erika Domieka: 2.5 stars - weak, slow, stuff just happens. telling not showing. then it just wraps up. Almost DNF'd
Everything else in the anthology came in at an average readable 3 for me or a bad 1 that I didn't finish.
It's a large mix of stories, so you will probably find something you like. Don't let this turn you off. Just know the stories are everywhere in enjoyment and clearly writing skill.
First thing you need to know? This isn't your typical anthology. It's a multi-genre offering, and it supports a worthy goal.
Next thing you need to know? There are sixty-nine short stories within - yes, you read that number right - and each tale is as compelling as the last. And of course, each one features at least one cat.
"Meow!" [translated: "Get to the details already!"] Okay, okay. Overlords. So insistent. When it comes to the tales, I'd be hard-pressed to name a favorite. It's like being presented with a smorgasbord of all your favorite treats plus a few you've never tried. All the stories have unique qualities and a distinct "voice." Some are fun. Some are darker and gritty. Several make you think but in a good way. A few made me question why I read them right before trying to sleep... Thankfully, no bad dreams or nightmares resulted, so points to the authors for keeping my heebie-jeebies manageable. All of these tales are well-crafted and entertaining reads. And if one or two of them aren't precisely to your taste, there are still sixty-odd other stories in there. You're bound to find several favorites.
If you're time-challenged as so many of us are and don't have opportunities to sit down and read for hours on end, these bite-sized tales are excellent ways to enjoy a fully fleshed-out story without throwing off your schedule. And with this many to choose from in one value-packed anthology, you'll enjoy the entertainment for quite some time.
One final word. A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to all the HELLCATS who made this amazing collection possible.
I enjoyed having an opportunity to sample so many authors and have an idea about how they write. The stories are wonderful. Even short stories can give you a lot. It's hard not to sit and read straight through the book. I am finding styles of reading I might never have read because I didn't know how much I would enjoy them
A Cat For The Keeper: such a lovely well written story. Lilly Mackenzie Hurd captures the feel of the sea, love of animals and the joy of a lonely heart as it finds it's home. I only wish the story were longer...I want to know more about about Calum and Catherine!
Who needs T.S. Eliot? This compendium of delirious cat tales is a lifetime’s worth of sordid, funny, demented and poignant stories cat lovers - and even non-cat lovers - will fully embrace. It’s too vast a tome to delineate the particular charms of every story, but one I especially enjoyed called, The Train Case, is like a cross between Lewis Carroll and Hunter S. Thompson. The author, Michael Raymond, has conjured up a nameless, feline protagonist who is either tripping on acid, or experiencing his personality as a prismatically fractured hallucination that approximates a cat on an acid trip. This cat’s on a journey into the mind of a writer, here represented by an 8-year old boy, who he’s locked inside a train case and forced to write something perfect, or never come out. When the cat winds up inside the case he discovers it’s like a magic carpet, or a time machine, or a place of infinite imagination. Though he started off traveling to Utah from Vegas in a Volkswagen with an animal menagerie and the aforementioned 8-year old in order to meet up with a sphynx cat who has a big bag of peyote he hopes will rid him of his memories of his mother and his guilt over dodging her funeral the next day in Los Angeles, his trip in the train case allows him to see his mother while she’s still alive and hash out some unfinished issues with her and the ground zero cat, an abusive Ur-father who spawned a passel of messed up kitty cats. What begins as a gonzo road trip becomes a tale of self repair. It’s an outrageous and very moving phantasmagoria that blends science fiction, fantasy and a dose of Ken Kesey. Highly recommended.
Titled "Hellcats" one could be forgiven in jumping to an obvious conclusion (I did) - but don't. I am personally glad I didn't.
This is a collection that has something in every genre for the cat lover. There are stories that even make one wonder why this one - what does it have to do with cats? I found upon some skull sweat the reasons (you can't always have it handed to you).
I will warn the cat lover - there are stories with happy conclusions, ones without and ones that never quite end.
Working my way through this sweet anthology set! Love the idea that all the stories, with so many differnt worlds, are all bound together by cats! It is going to take me a good while to get all the way through, but so far they have all been fantastic! So worth the money, and it all goes to such a great cause!!
I love escaping into short stories--it's like taking a mini-vacation into someone's imagination. When I saw this collection was about feisty cats and included stories ranging from paranormal fantasy to space opera, I got excited. Enjoyed many of the stories and it's 1300+ pages, so I'm still reading. Recommend!
I'm only halfway but wanted to get a review up - I've enjoyed all the stories so far! Some more than others, but I found them all well written and (so far) no really scary stuff. Short stories are quick to read and still deliver - and this is for a good cause - buy it!