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A Boy and His Dog (novella) (1969)
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A boy and his telepathic dog fight to survive in a war-torn, postapocalyptic world in this hard-hitting science fiction novella. In an alternate world in which John F. Kennedy survived and scientific breakthroughs in animal research and telepathy allow for advanced communication with animal companions, fifteen-year-old Vic and his telepathic dog, Blood, scavenge the wastelands of a war-torn United States, survivors of a nuclear World War III between the Americans and the Soviets. While Blood guides Vic toward women-to be used for sex-Vic ensures that Blood has food, but the symbiotic relationship is put at risk when the pair meets Quilla June Holmes, who lures the boy to an underground civilization. A piece of shocking, dystopic science fiction, A Boy and His Dog questions the boundaries and nature of love while crafting a vision of a dark future guaranteed to leave chills. Also included here is "Ahbhu: The Passing of One Man's Inspiration and Best Friend," a personal essay by author Harlan Ellison, which lovingly recounts the life of his canine companion, Ahbhu, the true-life basis for Blood. Ellison recalls rescuing Ahbhu from the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter and gives a brief chronicle of life with his furry friend, whom he stresses was both "a person" and "impossible to anthropomorphize." The nostalgic in memoriam frames the author's relationship with animals while casting a personal light on the inspiration for the novella with which it is paired. A Boy and His Dog was adapted into a cult classic film and fully solidifies Ellison as a master of his craft. This volume combines a dark, dystopian future of animal telepathy, sex, and postapocalyptic underworlds with a real-life account of the author's muse for the feisty but loyal Blood. Indispensible reading material for any fan of Ellison or dark science fiction, animal lovers will also delight over the relationship between Vic and Blood.
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