Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot: 02/02/11
When I read stories or books or watch movies, I am constantly reminded of others ones I've read or watched. It's impossible for me to read or watch in a vacuum. I have a good memory for plots and characters. Sometimes a title will put me into a mindset before I even begin to watch or read as is the case with "Epidapheles and the Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot" by Ramsey Shehadeh in the Mar/Apr 2010 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
In this case the title made me think of the recent parodies of Victorian fiction. Specifically I thought of Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. My initial gut reaction to the title wasn't too far off base.
The story is about a wizard and his unusual familiar who go to a kingdom to sort out the problem of a king who has become far to enchanted with his pet ocelot at the cost of all other things. Caligula had his horse and this emperor has his exotic cat. The wizard has an invisible, sentient chair named Door.
It took me a page or two to wrap my head around the situation. It's silly. It's delightful. It's the sort of "character driven" story that FSF prides itself on.