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Cordwainer Smith's science fiction often develops along two lines: extremely innovative ideas about future technology, especially technology that alters human's bodies or minds in some ways; and deep analysis of the human psyche(he was, after all, one of Anno Hideaki's influeces).

The short story titled "The Game of Rat and Dragon", written in 1954 and published in his collected work delivers the first in large doses, but has almost no biographical descriptions. The story lies almost entirely in the concept, and in filling out some details of the history of instrumentality.

The concept introduced is quite novel. Much like in Scanners Live in Vain, a problem has occured with space travel. When people fly into space, their ships are threatened by dragons, weird shadow forms that attack ships and either kill the people or drive them insane. These creatures are extremly afraid of light, however, and small nuclear explosions drive them away. Telepathic pilots on earth guard the ships and set off these explosions when attacked. The further problem, however, is that people can not respond fast enough to the "dragons", not having the attack instincts neccesary to attack them quickly.

The story then describes the next step taken, the adoption of the "partners", beings that can telepathically link up with the earth based psychics. These partners are described as being small, able to fit in tiny capsules, which they manuever around the main ship, setting off explosions. It is then revealed what exactly these partners are: common domestic cats. They see the attacking dragons as rats, and think that the whole thing is a delightfully fun game to play. The story describes some of the psychological interactions between the cats and their human partners, and the feelings of the cats as they attack the "rats".

Even though the story doesn't develop very much, the concept it presents is interesting. Even more then the concept, the image of a man telepathically bonded to a cat with a name like "Captain Wow", telepathically hunting down eerie space beings is very different and novel.

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