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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Guest Blog: Vijaya Schartz: Do Cats Belong in Space?

If you believe the futuristic series and other romantic sci-fi novels coming from my imagination, they do. Whether it’s the Chronicles of Kassouk series with all these gorgeous large cats on the covers, my contributions to the BOREALIS novellas (BLACK DRAGON and AKIRA’S CHOICE), or the Ancient Enemy sci-fi romance series, there is always a cat involved. Sometimes it’s a pet, sometimes a warrior’s battle companion, or a wild man eater. In AKIRA’S CHOICE, it’s a genetically enhanced cheetah. In my stories, felines come in all sizes.

I wasn’t aware that I had cats in my novels, until someone pointed it out to me. Then I realized that my love of cats transpired into almost everything I wrote. Is “cats in spaceships” a new concept? Certainly not. Think of early explorers on ocean-going ships. They all carried cats onboard. Coincidence? Not at all. They needed the cats, not only for companionship, but to keep in check the rat population. Since spaceships also carry food supplies and land in spaceports and space stations, rodents are a constant threat. Especially since they also have a propensity to chew everything, including bulkhead and wiring. Not a good thing on any kind of ship.

Other sci-fi authors featured cats on spaceships. The queen of sci-fi romance, Linnea Sinclair, in her Dock Five series, calls them furzels. And her furzels have special abilities, like protecting their owners, communicating with each other, and disappearing from one place to reappear in another... regardless of closed doors. Sometimes I wonder if my house cats do that, too. She has entire scenes written in the darling furzels’ point of view.

In AKIRA’S CHOICE, my latest Borealis series novella, released in September 2013, the heroine is a samurai bounty hunter who chases fugitives with her enhanced cheetah, Freckles, a certified fugitive retriever. The cheetah is not just a prop. The felines in my books are full-fledged characters, and most of the time they play an important role in the story. They are not furries (furry people who look like animals and walk on two legs). To my knowledge, cats do not talk (at least not with their mouth) nor do they behave like people, although I suspect most cats have the power to influence our minds. It’s certainly true for my cats. They make me do unthinkable things for them... like open a can of tuna at 3 AM. That’s cat power.

Since I cannot imagine life without cats, and people in the future live in space, I imagine they would take their cats everywhere. If you stop by my website and you love cats, visit my cat page and meet my kitties. There is also an illustrated list of all the cats in my books.


When bounty hunter Akira Karyudo accepted her assignment, something didn't add up. Why would the TPP want a kidnapped orphan dead or alive?

She will get to the truth once she finds the boy, and the no good SOB who snatched him from a psychiatric hospital. With her cheetah, Freckles, a genetically enhanced feline retriever, Akira sets out to flush them out of the bowels of the BOREALIS space station. But when she finds her fugitives, the kidnapper is not what she expects.

Markku, a decorated rebel soldier, stole his nephew from the authorities, who performed painful experiments on the boy. Stuck on Borealis, he protects the child, but how can he shield him from the horribly dangerous conditions in the lawless sublevels of the decrepit space station?

Akira faces the worst moral dilemma of her career. Law or justice, duty or love. She can't have it both ways.

Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and claims to also travel through time, as she writes without boundaries about the future and the far away past. Her love of cats transpires in most of her books. Her stories collected many five star reviews and literary awards. She makes you believe you actually lived these extraordinary adventures among her characters. Reviewers compared her stories to Indiana Jones with sizzling romance, and she takes that as a compliment, anytime. Visit her website at:

Find Vijaya Schartz and her books at the following links:
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Paris said...

Hi Vijaya,

AKIRA'S CHOICE has all of the elements that I enjoy in a story plus cats! I can't wait to check it out:)

Sandy said...

Vijaya, all animals communicate just not the same we do. That being said, we have a black Bombay cat named Midnight, and she never shuts up. She is loud and insistent when she wants something. lol I belive when Midnight and Dory (tortie) stare at one another they are communicating telepathically. I love cats, so I'm going to your site.

Rose Anderson said...

Cute post! Best luck Vijaya.

Brenna Chase said...

Interesting post! Good luck with your latest!

Vijaya Schartz, author said...

Thank you so much for commenting, Sandy, Rose, and Brenna. Life would be dull without cats.

Cherime MacFarlane said...

Absolutely cats should be in space. In fact that is the subject of what I'm writing right now.

Ann Herrick said...

It's funny. In real life you see dogs traveling in cars, but never cats. But in books cats go everywhere!

Paul McDermott said...

Considering their intellectual superiority to every other sentient lifeform on this planet, the ONLY reason they aren't already out there ahead of us mere mortals is the inconvenient lack of opposable thumbs which has hindered their efforts to build a viable spacecraft.
They have taught us much throughout history. Examples include Fung Shuai, the ability to walk silently, and (for some favoured few) the secrets of telepathy, teleportation and the ability to be two places at the same time. And we must never forget this: DOGS have Masters, CATS have Staff ...

Melissa Keir said...

Isn't it great how our love of animals show up in our stories. I have only one cat now (along with two dogs) and he is very vocal. He likes to tell me all the time that he wants attention and if I don't get it right, he nips at me.

historical author Donna Hatch said...

I love cats. At the moment I have three but until we found homes for the kittens last weekend, we had eight. (That was a lot, even for me. I felt like I was wading through cats every time I went into the kitchen.) The cats seem to like me okay, but I am fully aware that I am not their master, nor even really their companion, but definitely staff. My cats are very vocal--they snort and wuffle and grunt and make all sorts of noises people don't normally associate with cats.
I wish I'd thought to put a cat on my hero's pirate ship. Hmm. I may go back and change that. That's the beauty of digital books :-)

jean hart stewart said...

Cute post and picture.. Anybody who doesn't like cats puzzles me!

Jim Hartley said...

Well, I had a spaceship in one book that was just full of cats. But that made sense, many of those aboard were witches, and the cats were their familiars. Except for one ... a giant Siamese ... turned out he wasn't really a cat at all, but a Sidhe disguised as a cat.

Susan Macatee said...

Interesting post! In the movie 'Alien' Ripley had a cat on board. And I haven't read it for a while, but I think I remember the heroine in Elizabeth Moon's Vatta series had a cat on board her space freighter. It seems to be a running theme.

Paul McDermott said...

Donna, I'm writing a series of pirate-themed childrens' books (only the first one is published as yet) in which the only member of the crew with a modicum of intelligence is the ship's cat, Tigertail ... :)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vijaya,
Great post. I have to confess I am not a cat person, but you are so right about cats being on board sailing ships, so no reason why they wouldn't be on a spaceship/station. Sounds very reasonable to me.



Juliet Waldron said...

Cats in Space! Of course. They can go anywhere they desire to go. :)

Vijaya Schartz, author said...

Thank you all of you for these interesting and sometimes hilarious comments. I wouldn't trust a person who hates cats. Cats can read us and know who's good and who's selfish and mean. I trust their judgement. And you reinforced my belief that cats do, indeed, belong in space.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Vijaya,

I couldn't resist your come=on for this post!

I love cats - currently have had the same two for 13 years - and I couldn't imagine living without them. So I guess it makes sense to consider that they'd go into space as well. It's an interesting exercise to imagine them in zero-gravity though.

Surprisingly, only one of my many books has a cat as a character. Perhaps I should remedy that!

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