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A Boy and His Dog (1969)

by Harlan Ellison

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1255173,226 (3.87)21
Winner of the Nebula Award: 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.   Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novella and a Hugo Award finalist, 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.  … (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
{novella}

I found it revolting and good. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The revolting: rape, food sources. The good: The apocalyptic setting, the twists.

I wouldn't recommend it for everyone and I wouldn't add it to my favorites list but I enjoyed it much more the second time around. And as usual I can't say anything because it would be spoilers. Wait... I will say a boy and his dog (as the title suggests) are in neutral territory when they realize ... no nvmd why would I spoil any of it?

I can't wait to read it again in 4-5 years when I forget everything. ( )
  Seayla2020 | Aug 22, 2021 |
Award winning post-apocalypse novella about a young scavenger rapist, his telepathic dog, and some girl. Was also turned into a passable but forgettable film starring Don Johnson. Not exactly safe reading for the #MeToo crowd, but if that bothers you then I don't know what you expect from the apocalypse. A sci-fi story that poses the concept of morality in an immoral world, it may not offer any answers, but it doesn't fail to entertain. ( )
  smichaelwilson | Dec 14, 2020 |
This is one hell of a divisive short story. The fact it's written very well, that it evokes so many positive and negative emotions, although, MOST of them are negative, speaks very well of the author even I hate what's going on inside the story.

I've only read a few of Ellison's works and I guess I've been avoiding it for a long time. Mostly because he's a known jerk and iconoclast and while he's also doing most of it for the shock value almost as if he's the Marylin Manson of the 60's. I can respect a man who knows his own mind and writes stories that are shocking and repulsive and funny at the same time

This definitely falls into that category. Rape. Rapey stuff. Brutal dystopian world that not only condones but explicitly encourages the objectification of women. But wait! Isn't that most of the dystopian literature, these days!?

Yeah, I guess it is. But back in '69 when this little gem came out, it threw all the optimistic post-nuke claptrap out the window and dived deep into the truly ugly side of men vs. women.

Come on. He uses his telepathic dog (who is much smarter than him) to serial-rape women. Just because he finds one that just likes sex and talks about love doesn't excuse his past behavior (or anyone else's).

But damn! Ellison writes this so damn well and with a lot of dark humor. The twist at the end was nasty and gorgeous and rather fitting, too. I can't fault this. It's too dark. Too funny.

So in one respect, I just want to give this a one star. In another, I can't help but be impressed by the writing and the controversy and the way it sparks a LOT of huge emotions in every reader. This is what art is meant to do, no? Well, this succeeds.
( )
1 vote bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Eh.... ( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Nebula ( [1969]Novella1969)
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Ich war mit Blood, meinem Hund, ausgegangen.
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Winner of the Nebula Award: 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.   Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novella and a Hugo Award finalist, 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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"World War IV broke out on American Independence Day, 4 July 1995. Then what was left belonged to anybody who wanted it; anybody with a taste for radiation and rubble. The 'good folks' sank their caisson cities, their sterile down-unders, deep in the earth. And the snaggle-toothed remnants of the aboveground were abandoned to the new masters of desolation: vicious roverpaks of parentless young boys... and their telepathic dogs." -From the History of the World, as Blood tells it
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