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Cat and Mouse by Ralph Williams

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"Cat and Mouse" is a 1959 science fiction novelette by Ralph Williams. It is about an American fur trapper who discovers a portal to an alien world.

Isn’t Nature Great!

Man vs. Nature is a common plot theme, but if you’ve ever been in the beautiful, rugged outdoors you know just how calming the effect can be. I have been camping several times, however, when the thought of dangerous animals / aliens / crazy men crossed my worrying mind. Here’s a story where a strange occurrence proves to be both supremely interesting and mortally dangerous – just the kind of thing that might ruin a week-end camping trip!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Birch trees by rosevines, CC 2.0 license

Ed Brown is a fur trapper who lives in a cabin in Alaska. He and his cat, Tom, have just moved in for the season when they discover a portal to another world. This door-to-another-place shows beautiful mountains and a nice, summer forest – but Ed is a cautious guy so he conducts several experiments before going through. Once he is satisfied that he can make it back he heads to the other world to have a look. It turns out that a group of nasty, camouflaged animals are waiting for him, and thus ensues a battle between human hunter and the hive-mind Harn – both excellent, careful hunters. But who will win and what the spoils will be is just one of the things that makes this story so good – the other is the clever warden!

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Word count: 10,254 (15 pages)
  • Did you know that Ralph Williams (a.k.a. Ralph Slone) died in a fishing accident when he was just 45 years old? Yeah, be sure to read the touching letter by his son at SF Site (scroll down – the letter is on the bottom left of the page.)
  • A special thanks to Tinkoo at Variety SF for pointing out this great story!

Where To Find Cat and Mouse

  • This story was first published in the June 1959 edition of Astounding Science Fiction.
  • You can read (or download) "Cat and Mouse" for free at the good old Project Gutenberg web site.
  • You can download and listen to an audio version of this story (and many others!) in the excellent Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 007 from Librivox.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked "Cat and Mouse" then you may also enjoy “The World That Couldn’t Be” by Clifford D. Simak – about a farmer who tries to save his crops by hunting a very dangerous alien beast.