At first glance, George Alec Effinger's "Schrodinger's Kitten" would seem an odd choice for an audio production. True, this is of the exceedingly rare breed of short stories to win both the Hugo (1989) and Nebula (1988) awards, and Effinger is a writer who's accumulated his share of well-deserved critical acclaim over the years. But Effinger, as a writer, is a stylist. It's his skill with the written word, that elusive knack for putting not just the right two words together on the page, but the exactly right two words that has always been his signature. Whether it's the brooding, Arabic cyberpunk future of When Gravity Fails, the absurdist failure of "Who Dat?" or the outrageous farce of the Maureen Birnbaum tales, it's the deft wordplay that sets these works apart rather than cutting-edge ideas or intricate plotting.
"Schrodinger's Kitten," certainly, shares the trademark wordplay of Effinger's other work: starting with the insufferably coy title. Right away the listener is plunged into a non-linear narrative, which eventually is revealed to be very linear: at least from the perspective of the viewpoint character, Jehan. It's immediately apparent that 12-year-old Jehan is the kitten of the title, a frightened girl tormented by unsettling visions in the Islamic slum of Budayeen. It is here, during the festival marking the end of Ramadan, that she must kill a boy she has never met. A boy that her visions show her may one day do her great harm.