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Author Alan Dean Foster
ISBN ISBN 0-441-64661-1
Published 1991
Pages 325
Date read 2006.09.23
Rating 9/8

This one is for the cat lovers out there.

...or the Incan aficionados.

...or just those who like sci-fi humor.

I enjoyed Cat-A-Lyst -- perhaps a bit more than I "should" have.

Alan Dean Foster is one of those authors that you do not necessarily read for depth. However, some of his books hold a place in my bookcase as some of the funniest books I have read. (One of my favorites was Codgerspace (ISBN 0-727-84685-X), even though it has very often been eviscerated by reviewers.) He is best when he is writing an original story, but is not taking himself too seriously. (However, he is best known for his movie novelizations.) I suppose you have to be in the right mood for his humor, and this week I was.

I loved the references to The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll. (Or, as the Boojums refer to him, Charles Dodgson.) I particularly got a kick out of his description of the Boojums, (which Carroll intentionally left undescribed). Anyone who is familiar with Mexican flora, would recognize the description as that of a Boojum Tree, (which shows Foster's interest in ecology). (something for James)

Something not unlike a large blotchy beige carrot standing on its thick end emerged. Instead of arms, thin root-like tendrils extended from the mid to upper portion of the creature's corpus. (p 211)

Those familiar with Hunting of the Snark may crack a smile when a Boojum emphatically states:

A snark is most definitely not a Boojum. (p 297)

Much of the humor in this book is like that. It is left unexplained, but out in plain sight for those with the right informational background.

There are also references to von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods. (Referenced in the book as Hubcaps of the Gods. I love it!) Guess what? von Däniken was right about the Nazca lines!

The references to Incan / Peruvian culture were great! My favorite passage is at the end of the book, when the 'extra-dimensional Incas' were found after they had been... misplaced:

It was twelve years later that a Taiwanese fishing boat operation [...] came across an unvisited island populated entirely by South American Indians.
Norwegian scientists insisted that here at last was proof conclusive that the Polynesian islands had been settled by explorers from Peru. The rest of the anthropological community said nothing of the sort, often adding commentary of their own that was less than polite. (p 324)

(If you do not understand the humor in that, here is a hint.)

--Tometheus 13:06, 23 September 2006 (EDT)

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
  Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums—" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
  For the Baker had fainted away.
--Hunting of the Snark, Fit the Second
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