My life in outer space

The Dog Said Bow-Wow – Michael Swanwick (2007)

The Dog Said Bow-Wow

‘Science fiction and fantasy’s most adept short-story author reinvents some classic themes in an engaging collection that includes three of his Hugo award-winning stories. These smart expansions of traditional themes summon dinosaurs, dragons, peril in space, myths, faeries, and time travel, each undergoing artful alchemy to create serious genre literature that is playful, original, and clever. Comprising 16 imaginative and mischievous adventures, including the previously unpublished novelette, “The Skysailor’s Tale,” this adroit gathering makes a collection to truly revel in.

The collection The Dog Said Bow-Wow contains the following stories:

“‘Hello,’ Said the Stick”
(Hugo Nominee for Short Story 2003, Locus Nominee for Short Story 2003)
“The Dog Said Bow-Wow”
(Hugo Winner for Short Story 2002, Nebula Nominee for Short Story 2003, Locus Nominee for Short Story 2002)
“Slow Life”
(Hugo Winner for Novelette 2003, Locus Nominee for Novelette 2003)
“Triceratops Summer”
(Locus Nominee for Short Story 2006)
“Tin Marsh”
(Locus Nominee for Short Story 2007)
“An Episode of Stardust”
“The Skysailor’s Tale”
(Locus Nominee for Novelette 2008)
“Legions in Time”
(Hugo Winner for Novelette 2004, Locus Nominee for Novelette 2004)
“The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport”
(Hugo Nominee for Short Story 2003, Locus Nominee for Short Story 2003)
“The Bordello in Faerie”
“The Last Geek”
(Locus Nominee for Short Story 2005)
“Girls and Boys, Come Out to Play”
(Locus Nominee for Novelette 2006)
“A Great Day for Brontosaurs”
“Dirty Little War”
(Locus Nominee for Short Story 2003)
“A Small Room in Koboldtown”
(Hugo Nominee for Short Story 2008, Locus Winner for Short Story 2008)
(Locus Nominee for Novelette 2008)’

Blurb from the 2007 Tachyon Publications paperback edition.

A collection of Swanwick’s trademark quirky tales from the early to mid Noughties. Very stylish and individual pieces.

“‘Hello,’ Said the Stick” Analog Mar 2002

An intelligent talking stick is found by a soldier in a futuristic war, but whose side is the stick on?

“The Dog said Bow-Wow” Asimovs Oct 2001

As usual Swanwick has created a bizarre and exotic world in which to set his tale, which features a genetically engineered dog of the far future who joined forces with a human man (Darger and Surplus) and hatches a scheme to steal the jewels of a member of the aristocracy.
In this future, the Queen (an almost immortal creature with multiple brains set deep into her vast body) lives in a Buckingham Palace which is surrounded by a labyrinth.
Vivid, surreal, amusing and memorable.

“Slow Life” Analog Dec 2002

An exploratory team discover life below the oceans of Titan, a meeting which inflicts drastic change on the Titans, and augurs similar changes for human society.

“Triceratops Summer” Aug 2005

Dinosaurs let loose from a University campus entails the world being put into a time-loop. Effectively people can live whatever lives they wish for three months before the world is reset to the point before the dinosaurs escaped.

“Tin Marsh” Asimovs Aug 2006

A prospector on Venus is driven crazy by the mentally imposed restrictions and his partner’s teasing and tries to murder her.

“An Episode of Stardust” Asimovs Jan 2006

One of Swanwick’s odd and elaborate surreal tales in which a donkey-eared fey tells the tale of how he fell into partnership with a criminal vixen.

“The Skysailor’s Tale” (The Dog Said Bow-Wow, 2007)

In a historical US which is not quite ours, a young man enlists on ‘The Empire’, a vast craft held aloft by individual balloons. Atmospheric and somewhat moving.

“Legions in Time” Asimovs April 2003

Another surreal bit of cleverness which features a woman who is paid to sit in a room and watch a cupboard door for 8 hours a day, but one day her curiosity gets the better of her, and she becomes embroiled in a war fought through time.

“The Little Cat Laughed To See Such Sport” Asimovs Oct 2002

Darger and Surplus engage themselves in a con, trying to sell a dying billionaire the location of the lost Eiffel Tower, dismantled after it was occupied by transdimensional demons attempting to invade Earth. A genetically modified cat throws their plans and emotions into disarray.

“The Bordello in Faerie” Postscripts Autumn 2006

A dark and atmospheric erotic fairy tale in which a young man becomes addicted to visiting a bordello where he engages in sex with various supernatural creatures.

“The Last Geek” Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic, (Aug 2004,

An odd piece in which the last geek is paid to give a lecture at a university.

“Girls and Boys, Come Out To Play” Asimovs July 2005

Another Surplus and Darger tale involving genetically engineered Greek mythological figures, including Bacchus

“A Great Day for Brontosaurs” Asimovs May 2002

A scientist proposes a way to genetically backengineer birds in order to create dinosaurs, but is that what is really going on?

“Dirty Little War”  In the Shadow of the Wall: An Anthology of Vietnam Stories That Might Have Been, Jul 2002

A dinner party somehow overlaps with a battlefield in one of Swanwick’s more surreal stories.

“A Small Room in Koboldtown” Asimovs April 2007

A supernatural detective story, in which a non-human pitfighter is found dead in a hotel room, and the only credible suspect is the ghost janitor. Can Will le Fey solve the case and save his ghost partner’s brother from jail?

“Urdumheim” F&SF Oct 2007

Swanwick’s variation on a creation myth sees Nimrod creating humans and language and then having to wage a war against the Igigi from Mount Ararat.


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