Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dogs From Outer Space

Back when Cowboys & Aliens came out, I’d anxiously waited for months for it to open. I watched them change the signs the night at the theater before it opened. I was there the first day to see it. But, that was a while ago now. I was talking online with another writer the other day about an unrelated matter when the subject of Cowboys & Aliens came up. I think we both thought the movie was pretty cool, though it had a few flaws. For one thing, the director didn’t seem to know what to do with the dog. They had this cool dog, but the dog never really fit into the story all that well.

And that brings up the issue of dogs in science fiction. It’s simply incredibly rare to see dogs in science fiction stories. The apocalyptic ones like Soylent Green make sense. If they’re feeding the human population with dead people, I’d think the folks at Purina would have been phased out already. But you don’t often see them in other types of science fiction stories, either.

I seem to remember a dog in Independence Day.

There’s the classic story “A Boy and His Dog.” In that story, the dog really is just in it at the end.

The Jetsons had a dog.

They seem to prefer robotic pets in science fiction.

One of my first stories I ever had published was “Gray Dogs on the Beach.” It was about these aliens who looked like dogs and visited Earth. They were appalled that people tried to feed them bones and only wanted to play Frisbee with them. Good luck finding it in its original printing, but it is reprinted in my collection Flying Saucer Stories.

So, what’s all this mean? Nothing. I’m just rattling on as usual. I suppose, over the next few days, a few other science fiction stories with dogs in them will pop into what passes for my brain. I’m only talking about science fiction here, not fantasy and horror.

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