Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Short Story Wednesday: Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories by Naomi Kritzer

Today I am featuring a collection of short stories written by Naomi Kritzer. Most of the stories were published in various science fiction or fantasy magazines between 2000 and 2015. Two of the stories were first published in this book, which was released in 2017. 

My husband and I had both read short stories by this author previously. We liked the stories so much we purchased this  book.

I read "So Much Cooking," originally published in Clarkesworld in November 2015. I covered it in this Short Story Wednesday post in April 2021.

The story is written as a series of blog posts, beginning with hints of an outbreak of bird flu. The blog focuses on food and cooking. That is a great way to illustrate the differences that a catastrophe (like a pandemic) can make in your life. The setting is in Minneapolis. That story is also in this book.

My husband read "Little Free Library," which was first published by Tor in 2020. He read it on his Kindle. 

When Meigan moves to St. Paul, she purchases a Little Free Library kit and decorates it herself. Once she stocks it with books, she develops an unusual relationship with one of the visitors to her Little Free Library. You can read it here.

Yesterday, I read two stories from Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories.

The title story, "Cat Pictures Please," won the Hugo Award and the Locus Award for Best Short Story in 2016. It is about an AI whose greatest desire is cat pictures. The AI, who narrates the story, also has a strong urge to help people but no real connection to achieve this with. This AI wants to find a way to have cat pictures and help people. I loved the story. 

Originally published in Clarkesworld in January 2015. The story is available to be read online here.

The second story I read was "What Happened at Blessing Creek." It is a fantasy story set in the western US when settlers were moving out west and taking over Indian land. A group of people from Ohio are going out west on a wagon train. Their leader is a magician who claims to be able to protect them from the dragons, who are allied with the Indians. This is a very interesting, thought-provoking story. The author includes a note in the book on how she came to write the story. 

Originally appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show in August 2011. The story can be read online here.

Table of Contents:

"Cat Pictures Please" 

"Ace of Spades"

"The Golem"


"In The Witch's Garden"

"What Happened at Blessing Creek"




"The Good Son"

"Scrap Dragon"

"Comrade Grandmother"

"Isabella’s Garden"


"Honest Man"

"The Wall" 

"So Much Cooking"


Cath said...

Now this author and her stories sound very interesting indeed. I seem to recall you posting before about a story linking food and a pandemic so I must look her up, the cat story attracts me.

George said...

I love the cover on CAT PICTURES PLEASE! I've read Namoi Kritzers two YA SF novels: CATFISHING ON CATNET and CHAOS ON CATNET. Very entertaining!

Rick Robinson said...

Sounds great!

TracyK said...

Cath, I have been very impressed with all three stories I have read by Kritzer and will be reading more of her fiction. The cat story is wonderful.

TracyK said...

George, I am glad to hear you liked CATFISHING ON CATNET and the sequel to that. I don't read many YA books so I wasn't sure whether to try those, but they sound good.

TracyK said...

Rick, I have liked what I have read so far in this book, and looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

Reading this book reminded me I need to get back to the remaining stories in COSMIC CORSAIRS. Those are totally different stories but still...

Lark said...

I love the cover of this book!

TracyK said...

I agree, Lark, it is a wonderful cover. And fortunately the contents of the book are just as good.

FictionFan said...

I loved Cat Pictures, Please and went on to read a couple of novellas which I also enjoyed. Thanks for the reminder of her - she'd kind of fallen off my radar and deserves to fall back on!

Neeru said...

Some unusual sounding stories there. Tracy. Thanks for providing the online links. I'll have a look.

TracyK said...

Neeru, I like that a good bit of this author short fiction is easy to read online and for free. I hope you try some of her work.

TracyK said...

FictionFan, I am glad that Glen and I both found different stories to read by her and were motivated to read more. She was a good discovery for me.

NancyElin said...

Great review…I thought I could use it for Bingo or Blackout…but not short story space.
Good time to use ‘my free space’ on the card.
Love anything with cats…so will take a chance on Krit1zer.

TracyK said...

I hope you like it, Nancy. I also love anything with cats.

col2910 said...

Nice cover, but I don't think it is a book for me.

TracyK said...

I think you may be right, Col, and I am sure you have many other short stories available to read.

Todd Mason said...

Colman is more a hardboiled guy, I'd suggest. Meanwhile. I'm mostly thinking how Kritzer, 9 years younger than I, published her first pro fiction five years later than I (she in 1999) but has certainly been at it more assiduously, but what really reminds me of how middle-aged I am and leaning toward aging out of that class soon is how much of her published work has appeared in webzines...as opposed to only one story of mine which I haven't self-posted (in response to writing challenges). Even my story which has appeared only in Finnish translation was in a Finnish printed-paper magazine.

Meanwhile, in a comment in reply to yours on my blog, editor Ellen Datlow suggests you might not be Too stressed by the stories in WHEN THINGS GET DARK.

TracyK said...

Yes, Col is a hardboiled guy, Todd.

I will go reply to Ellen Datlow's comment. Thanks for letting me know. Sorry that I had not checked back.

Todd Mason said...

No foul! I replied to your comment as well...

TracyK said...

I saw that, Todd. I realized that the ones you had summarized mostly sounded like stories I could handle. Also, short stories are easier because of their briefness, even when they are uncomfortable.