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Where Dogs Play a Part: Dogtime on the 5 Best Fantasy And Science Fiction Books With Dogs

Saturday, June 29th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

City Simak-small The Robots of Gotham paperback-small Top Dog Jerry Jay Carroll-small

Everybody loves recommending science fiction books. It’s not just our friends at, Kirkus Reviews, and The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog anymore. Last week at Dogtime (Dogtime?!) Jean Andrei recommended the 5 Best Fantasy And Science Fiction Books “where dogs play a part in the story.” Starting, of course, with one of the great classics of the genre, the 1944 fix-up novel City.

Written by Clifford D. Simak, it’s told from the perspective of dogs as they explain what happened at the end of human civilization. The story tells of the advancements of humans and their desire to explore the universe. Before they leave, however, they give the gift of speech to all dogs on earth, as well as robots as their companions. It’s a compelling novel that is as strange as it is fascinating.

Even Black Gate contributors are getting in on the act. Amazon reviewer Tim in Chicago recommends Todd McAulty’s robot apocalypse novel The Robots of Gotham, released this month in trade paperback.

All of you plot-driven, immersive world, dystopian fantasy, robot-obsessed, political intrigue, action fans come right in — the pages practically turn themselves. Like a Jason Bourne with robots and a more sympathetic hero, Barry uses his most human qualities to navigate a world of robots that would rather just crush him than care about him. And there is a loyal dog — robots will never understand dogs.

Most BG readers will know about those two of course, but there are plenty more if you know where to look. Starting with Jerry Jay Carroll’s 1996 fantasy Top Dog, the opening novel in his A Dog’s Life series.

[Click the images for dog-sized versions.]

Here’s Jean Andrei again.

The story centers on a high-powered corporate stock broker who’s cutthroat in his business practices and morally compromised. That is, until he wakes up from a nap and realizes he’s now a giant German Shepherd in a world full of of wizards, fairies, and monsters. It’s a quite an adventure story filled with fantasy and life lessons we should all be thoughtful of.

See the back cover to the 2014 Swaggering Press edition of Top Dog here.

Andrei’s list also includes books by Kevin Hearne, Robin Hobb, and James Herbet. Read the whole thing here.

I’m sure there are other great fantasies that feature dogs out there. Got a recommendations of your own? Shout out in the comments. To help you get started, have a look through the recent releases we’ve highlighted right here at Black Gate.


  1. […] TALE WAGGERS. How can you not want to read a post with a title like this? “Where Dogs Play a Part: Dogtime on the 5 Best Fantasy And Science Fiction Books With Dogs” at Black […]

    Pingback by Pixel Scroll 6/29/19 I Scroll Less Than Half Of You Half As Well As You Pixel | File 770 - June 29, 2019 10:36 pm

  2. A tale I have yet to read recommended to me and which I am sure has been mentioned more than once that fits this brief must surely be A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison?

    Comment by Tony Den - June 30, 2019 1:08 am

  3. Tony,

    It fits the brief…. but I don’t think that tale is one of the best man-dog stories.

    Comment by John ONeill - June 30, 2019 12:10 pm

  4. Diana Wynne Jones’s “Dogbody” is wonderful.

    I remember liking “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” (the original book by Dodie Smith) and its SFnal sequel “The Starlight Barking” a lot, but that was a long time ago and I haven’t reread them recently.

    Comment by Dan Bloch - June 30, 2019 10:45 pm

  5. Dan,

    I wasn’t even aware there WAS a sequel. Thanks for the tip! If I can track down a copy, it would make perfect long-weekend reading….

    Comment by John ONeill - July 3, 2019 10:28 am

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