Friday, June 12, 2020

For He Can Creep, by Siobhan Carroll

Tor Books, ISBN 9781250237569, July 2019

Eighteenth century English poet Christopher Smart has been confined to St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics due to "religious mania," i.e., he believes God has commissioned him to write the Divine Poem. Confined to his cell, but equipped with paper, pen, and ink, Smart is working on his Divine Poem, or trying to. He is supported by his cat, Jeoffry, who does not see the point of this poetry stuff, but is devoted to his human.

Jeoffry has the advantage of being able to come and go.

Jeoffry also has the ability to see, and fight with, the demons that haunt the asylum. He can easily chase off the demons and imps that normally haunt the asylum. Satan, though, is a greater challenge.

Years ago, long before his commission from God, Christopher Smart had made a bargain with Satan that seemed unimportant at the time. Satan did him some favors, and in return, Smart promised him a poem, also.

Satan has arrived to demand that Smart finally write and deliver his poem.

Jeoffry, champion of the streets and torment of demons and imps, has a new challenge. It starts with resisting Satan's blandishments. But even if he can, he'll still need to fight, and defeat, Satan.

How can one cat do that? 

Jeoffry is as arrogant and independent as any good street cat should be. He's also clever, and tricky, and has friends as clever and tricky as he is.

I really liked Jeoffry and his friends. Satan is properly impressive, and Christopher Smart properly values his loyal friend, Jeoffry.


I received this story as part of the Hugo Voters packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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