“Dog Country” by Malcolm F. Cross

04/26/16

This is a very strange book. It’s certainly science fiction and it’s a military science fiction book at that. But, why?

You see, the main characters in the book are genetically created dogs. They are not genetically created just to fight because I think I read about other dogs doing non-warfighting things. 2104 or further into our future and apparently genetic engineering has taken off and become common place. So much so, that different variety of animals have been genengineered to have human features and apparently human brains? This is where I think the story is a real stretch. If you’ll notice a dogs head, there isn’t all that much room for a brain. So, I don’t understand how a dog could be gene engineered to do human activities unless their heads were humongous and then they’d look something really weird. And, even the dogs in this book don’t act like dogs. They act like humans so why use dogs as your main character?

Anyway, the story involves a certain dog name Edane who appears to have been built to done one thing and that is fight. So, when he’s not in an army of some kind, be it a mercenary army or a “contract” army, he is playing a game called MilSim. And this is fine with Edane. He can’t seem to get enough of this military type activity. Now, I don’t think all dogs are the same as Edane, but there apparently are a lot of them that like to go to war. Even though Edane can’t be hurt during a milsims game, he can and was almost killed in his recent real war in Tajikistan. He has vivid memories of that experience plus a lot of scars to go with those memories.

So, that’s what the book is about. Dogs fighting a war or in this book a crowdfunded action to remove a dictator. Yeah, you see a bunch of Edane’s buddies decide to find out how badly the people of Azerbaijan want their dictator removed. So, while at home watching the Internet, their crowdfunding proposal soars to hundreds of thousands of dollars and then to over a million. They then get busy deciding on how to do what they had proposed. Apparently, dogs can get things done without a big chain of command. Someone sees something that needs done in order to accomplish the mission, they do it. Edane finds himself drawn back to this new fight. He has to go and prove something. He left Tajikistan under heavy sedation and certainly not the way he wanted to finish that fight. He now feels compelled to go back to war.

This story could have been about any human who has gone to war. That group of men and women know what it feels like to be involved in something important, something greater than yourself. They know what it is to work within a group to accomplish a defined mission. They know the risks and are willing to accept them. They also know that while doing this very dangerous job, they are absolutely alive! So, while the story was good, it didn’t have to be about dogs; it’s a story of any soldier. If you’ve been there, done that, you’ll understand Edane and this book.

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