OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34


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Robert A. Heinlein bibliography - Wikipedia

You don't even have to be a teacher. Ask anybody. Dogs and cats are smarter than we are. Thomas Edison turns out to not be such a marvellous inventor; that honour belongs to his dog, Sparky, whose intelligence was beyond human comprehension. After all, choosing to be fed, kept warm and loved by a lower form of life is a pretty good deal. Intelligence can bring a whole host of new moral issues for the higher-thinking dog. First appearing in Terry Pratchett's Moving Pictures , Gaspode is a sentient dog who has to survive in a cruel world.


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He's the classic underdog of course , outwitting all those around him, but never losing his lovability. It's a hard task to be a good dog in the Discworld, but somehow he manages it.


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More intelligent dogs: Barnabas is the straight-talking companion of Destruction and then Delirium's protector in Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels, and Mouse in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files is another clever dog with a lot more going on than meets the eye, but perhaps my favourite recent superdog in science fiction is Daryl the Talking Beagle who has a laconic sense of humour in Stefan Mohamed's Bitter Sixteen The dog who can outsmart us is a speculative fiction idea that has had serious longevity, but we could trust in Douglas Adams to find the other side of any coin.

Of course, it's easy to love a dog character, stupid or intelligent. It hasn't escaped many writers' attention that putting that lovable mutt under duress is a great way to create tension, and the greater the bond between dog and human the more we read on to hope the dog makes it through the story. Robin Hobb has used this device really well in her books set in the Realm of the Elderlings, starting with Assassin's Apprentice The main character Fitz can form a magical telepathic bond with dogs, and as a boy becomes linked to a puppy called Nosy.

It's this relationship that draws us in, and also fills the first section of the book with drama and meaning.

Celebrating the dogs of speculative fiction

For every happy waggy-tailed delight of a dog in children's fiction there's a big bad wolf to be found in fairy tales. A soldier is instructed on how to find great wealth in a hollow tree, but comes across three dogs who must be outwitted: the dog with eyes as large as teacups, the dog with eyes as large as millwheels, and the dogs with eyes as large as towers.

These grotesque canines have been an illustrator's dream for one hundred and eighty years; you have to wonder how many children have been scared by the drawings of those big-eyed dogs over the decades. There are even more bizarre dogs that are older still. Greek mythology gave us Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the gates of the Underworld. Heracles captured it as the final task in his twelve labours. The fierce guardian dog good or bad can be found in other mythologies; for instance, hounds protect lost souls in the Underworld in Celtic legends, and Garmr is the bloodstained dog who watches Hel's gates in Viking stories.

Supernatural dogs such as the Black Shuck and the Barghest appear in old folk legends - the dog as an omen of disaster. Neil Gaiman used this tradition in the story Black Dog , which can be found in his most recent collection of short stories, Trigger Warning And the most famous incarnation of evil that has ever been committed to paper assumed canine form at one time.

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Bram Stoker's Dracula contains a moment when, in order to disembark from the Demeter the ship on which he sails to England he turns into a dog. But he's not a picky shapeshifter; he also becomes a bat, a wolf, and a spooky mist throughout the course of the narrative; beside that list the dog form seems more of a curiosity than a genuinely scary choice.

A literary dog that really should scare anyone isn't, in fact, a dog at all. Toby seems, at first, to be a take on the loyal guardian dog angle but as the story progresses the heroine that he claims to protect uncovers disquieting information about him. This leads to the kind of show-down that leaves both Halo Jones and the reader as nervous wrecks afterwards. Cujo is a St Bernard who starts the book as a lovely friendly companion and ends it as a rabid beast. It's a reminder of just how little separates the tame from the wild, and the good from the bad - just one bite from an infected bat, and Cujo is no longer a domestic animal.

He's a monster. The bond between humans and canines is such a longstanding one that when it turns up in works of imagination it's often described as a positive force, whether it's in the form of a friend, a guardian, or a super-intelligent animal who is just humouring us.

Whatever their role, they have enriched the books in which they appear. As an aside or as the hero, dogs make great characters.


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  6. There must be so many more than are mentioned here; give them a mention in the comments section to make this a bigger and better celebration of the speculative fiction dog. View the discussion thread.

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    5 Best Fantasy And Science Fiction Books With Dogs

    Sign up for our daily newsletter Newsletter. Celebrating the dogs of speculative fiction From Toto to Barnabas, Fluffy to Pongo, Manchee and more, we salute the literary dogs who left an enduring mark on speculative fiction Dec 9, Some key factors include genetics, early-life stimulus deprivation inadequate stimulus exposure, inappropriate or lack of social exposure , stress prenatal maternal stress and postnatal early-life adversity , early weaning and maternal separation, transport and pet-store-related factors, and owner-related factors such as inadequate knowledge and experience with dogs as well as different levels of commitment to the pet dog.

    All published studies suggest a role for major stressors during puppy development from the prenatal stage through adolescence in the development of many behavioral problems. We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads.

    OG’s Speculative Fiction

    By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. Download PDF Download. Author links open overlay panel Franklin D. Under a Creative Commons license.

    OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34 OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34
    OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34 OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34
    OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34 OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34
    OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34 OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34
    OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34 OGs Speculative Fiction, Issue 34

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