Short story several decades old, about cat navigator or co-pilot of a spaceship and its human partner. They were isolated in different compartments, communication telepathic only, no visual or audio contact. Each life depended on the other.

  • Was my answer the right one?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 11:52
  • Don't think so, thanks for trying. Intriguing story concept, but pretty sure I've never read that one. In the story I'm trying to find, the human pilot and his cat partner were the only characters. No dragons. By "several decades old," I'm saying 1950s or at latest 1960s. Or maybe I imagined the whole thing ... ? Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 1:10
  • The Game of Rat and Dragon is from 1954. About 90% of the story is just the two of them locked in separated pods, communicating telepathically. These aren't literally dragons, btw. They're some sort of interdimensional monster that the crew refer to as dragons.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 1:12
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/271517/… (which is newer but has an accepted answer)
    – Otis
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


Could this be The Game of Rat and Dragon by Cordwainer Smith?

The story takes place in the far future. Human travel in outer space is threatened by strange creatures known as the Dragons. Imperceptible to ordinary people, Dragons are experienced as nothing but a sudden death or insanity. Dragons can only be destroyed by very strong light, but they move too fast for conventional defense methods. Both human and telepathic cats (who perceive the dragons as rats) are able to sense the creatures within milliseconds. The humans and cats work together as teams to protect interstellar spaceships traveling via planoforming (a type of faster than light speed travel). The cats ride outside of the spaceships in their own tiny crafts, waiting for the order from their human partner to attack. Pin-sets (telepathic amplifiers) heighten a telepath’s senses and allow the humans to communicate with their partner cats. The cats then destroy the Dragons with "pinlights", miniature nuclear bombs whose blast gives off pure visible radiance that can destroy the dragons. Thanks to the combination of the human mind and the cats' quick reactions, the battle against the Dragons is not only possible, but usually ends in victory.

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