In a future America where intelligent, genetically modified animals are a persecuted minority, a talking cat joins a mixed-species, underground resistance movement.
By 2135, science/technology has solved many of humanity’s ills. The human population has leveled at a few billion and nuclear weapons no longer exist. Still, a ruling “Triumvirate” of corporations decides society needs a scapegoat (or scape-dog or -cat or -pig) for any discontent. It settles on “GAB” animals, different types of domestic critters, from mice on up, with Genetically Altered Brain heredity traits. Medical tinkering rendered their species supersmart and even telepathic/telekinetic. But, occupying a literal no man’s land in terms of legal rights, GAB fauna are feared and strictly regulated, with many free-roaming ones cruelly caught and exterminated. Fluffy, a female GAB cat on America’s East Coast, has lived a safe, sheltered, high-rise life with her human dad, a widowed professor. Answering psychic summonses from the animal world, Fluffy departs for adventures that lead her to furry revolutionaries (and their human allies), a Scrooge-like robotics tycoon high in the Triumvirate, bounty hunters, and a clandestine, mountain-bound “Animal U” (with distinctly New Agey overtones), where GAB beasts develop their powers and eat vegetarian fare in love and harmony. A natural disaster provides the means by which Fluffy and friends show their worth. This upbeat sci-fi novel by Myers (Making It, 2017) seems pitched to the YA demographic, despite having no juvenile characters—unless the audience counts cat and dog years. The prose stylings are serviceable enough, and readers will not find anything to threaten their rosy memories of yesteryear’s superficially similar Rats of NIMH trilogy by Robert C. O’Brien and Jane Leslie Conly. But there are some kindred spirits here, praising the animals as morally superior to the Homo sapiens, with their treacheries, drone warcraft, and global warming. The pace moves rapidly, and the length is just about right. Maybe the biggest surprise: a corporate minion surnamed Trump who isn’t particularly evil or outwardly symbolic of a certain real-life, political/capitalist dynasty.
Brisk sci-fi futurism with a feline star and a positive outlook.