“She’s a Queen!”: A Catty Review of The Book of Grudge
“She’s heavy, and she’s all mine.” — Book, with regard to Grudge the Cat
I was so excited when I first learned we were getting a cat as a main character in Star Trek: Discovery. I’ve been a cat person for exactly as long as I’ve been a Trekkie. When I found out that Grudge the Discovery cat was portrayed by two Maine Coon cat brothers, I was thrilled. To my knowledge, this is the first time my home state of Maine has been represented in Star Trek. When we got the news we were about to get a book about Grudge, my joy was full! The three great loves of my life – Trek, books, and cats – all come together in this delightful volume. Anyone who has ever known and loved a cat will “grok” Grudge in her own book.
As the best is none too good for her, it should be obvious that The Book of Grudge is the most beautifully bound, written, and illustrated book that mere mortal hands could produce. Naturally, cats’ paws could have done better, and had Grudge lowered herself to producing her own book rather than dictating, we would have seen the proof of that.
For the first time in her own words, Grudge herself has finally deigned to share the eternal verity of the universe: that every iteration of Star Trek, from the time of the beginning, is “The Grudge Show”. She’s a felis catus, a domestic species of small carnivorous mammal; she has her own gravitational pull, and she is not grateful. Michael says she has a bad attitude, but Book knows she’s a Queen. O, heavy is the head which wears the crown…
We all know Spock’s moving words to Jim Kirk in The Wrath of Khan: “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” Grudge has come forward to let us know that she said it first, and said it best: “I have been, and always shall be, your Queen!”
The Klingons have a saying, “Today is a good day to die!” Grudge, however, feels it’s a good day to be left alone!
Were Grudge given the conn, she would have no trouble finding a catchphrase. Hers would be, “Meow it so!”
While the prospect of a good cup of coffee was enough to embolden Captain Janeway to enter the famous “coffee nebula,” Grudge has other priorities: catnip! “There’s catnip in that nebula!”
But Grudge’s wit and wisdom go far beyond clever catchphrases. She instructs us in how we should regard her as she condescends to share with us her infinite wisdom.
She has no interest in time, be it temporal anomalies, planetary systems, or seasons of the suns her ship is passing. Grudge feels that her needs should define universal time.
She has even less interest in space, whether that space be black holes, subspace, mycelial space, or nebulae (the kind without catnip). Why should she?! Space is cold, and there aren’t any mice, and absolutely no cozy corners that are so essential to a cat’s comfort.
She does, however, regard her human with the highest esteem. She has Cleveland Booker as her own personal person, and she considers that she might have chosen worse. He does, after all, treat her like royalty, and instructs everyone around her to do the same. For his sake, she tolerates the presence of Michael Burnham. Grudge would prefer to keep Book to herself but concedes that Michael makes Book happy, which translates into extra treats for Grudge. It’s a win-win for everyone!
She would like to go on record as saying that she did not eat Michael Burnham, but she could have, if she had chosen to engage her diabolical side.
The rest of the crew, naturally, exist only to serve and adore Grudge. Grudge is unmoved by the acts of heroism and valor on the part of the officers. Dr. Pollard made her paw feel better, and that act is heroic enough for Grudge. Jett Reno understands the importance of snacks, and thus she is Grudge’s preferred engineer. And Grudge respects Adira’s eccentricities as long as they respect hers. She is still working on Saru. Clearly, when he lost his threat ganglia, he lost his sense of the clear and present danger of Grudge’s presence.
Although photography can only provide a pale reflection of the majesty of Grudge, the photographs in this book do give us a sense of who Grudge is, so that if we meet her on deck, we can recognize her and pay her the homage she deserves. At least, anyone who has seen her photograph will not confuse her with Spot, a far inferior being.
And speaking of inferior beings, she has no use for Orions, any more than she has for dogs. At least Andorians have nice warm laps to jump into at inopportune times, because what cat could possibly resist those antennae for playthings?!
Grudge’s poetry is perhaps a self-indulgent exercise, but she wishes to be known for her creative efforts as well as her great wisdom. Her haiku creatively instructs us in the proper cattitude we should have toward her. Our Prime Directive is to be awake when she is; to pet her the way she prefers to be petted (or you will wish yourself in an agony booth); to brave both the darkness of space and the blazing light of sun to bring her Romulan catnip, which is far superior to that blue stuff her humans have an inexplicable taste for; and to always remember the ancient Vulcan saying: Grudge’s needs outweigh the needs of the many, the few, and the one.
Author’s Note: O Your Majesty Queen Grudge, live forever. Your book is simply magnificent. It is my earnest wish that this review might find favor in your sight, and that I might graduate in your estimation from sublime indifference to haughty disdain. I could wish for no higher accolade in my lowly life.
Very truly, your humble servant,
Yours in cattitude
Ruth Anne Amsden has been a Trekkie since she was a ten-year-old reader voraciously devouring Star Trek novels (her family did not allow television in the home). She is working toward her first BA and aspiring to professionally write Star Trek novels as love letters to the novels she loved growing up.