Eye of Cat
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Cover artist||Stephen E. Fabian|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
When the galaxy's most skilled hunter is asked to use his skill to protect an important political mission, he realizes that he needs specialized aid. Thus Billy Singer must seek the shape-shifting telepathic creature only known as "Cat", whom he had caught and trapped for a museum. Cat agrees to help on the condition that, once the mission is over, he be given the chance to hunt his former captor. Billy accepts Cat's offer. However, Billy has been growing increasingly fatalistic in the time leading up to the story, and originally offers to let Cat kill him with no struggle. Cat, a hunter refuses, encouraging Billy to flee. Billy does so, but remains fatalistic, with Cat reading in his mind a wish to die and his foreknowledge of a final location. Billy must reconcile his personal chindi to evade Cat. Billy turns increasingly primitive, away from the technology of the day, and eventually returns to his Navajo roots. Traveling across the world using teleportation technology, he eventually comes to Canyon de Chelly where he regresses to a state where he can, or believes he can, walk in the spirit world. At the same time, a collection of psychics try to pool their powers to help him and to attack Cat. Cat is able to kill one by destroying his mind, but even so the dead man seems to linger as a part of their group consciousness.
Billy is eventually able to kill Cat, but then has to face his chindi, who is his deathwish, in a battle that pits him against his own shadow. The novel ends with Billy apparently united with his other self.
The dedication page reads "To Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee", two Navajo Tribal Police characters in detective stories by Tony Hillerman. Zelazny took much inspiration from Hillerman's stories of Navajo life and culture. Hillerman repaid the compliment by having one of his characters reading a Zelazny novel while on a stakeout.
The creature "Cat" is referred to as a Torglind Metamorph, last of its kind from a planet long since destroyed when its star went nova. The alien's plight parallels that of Billy Singer, who has become displaced from his people and traditions.
Eye of Cat was nominated for the 1983 Locus Award
- Levack, Daniel J. H. (1983). Amber Dreams: A Roger Zelazny Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood-Miller. p. 37. ISBN 0-934438-39-0.
- Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 669.
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