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This surprising and original first novel seems destined to become a horror classic.  In New York City in the year 2009, 150 dogs arrive, walking upright, speaking English and clad in 19th century Prussian formal wear.  It turns out that the "Monster Dogs" were created by an insane German named Augustus Rank, whose mad vision it was to create a race of super-soldiers.  In 1882 he was forced to flee to Canada, where he and his successors perfected their creations.  But ultimately the dogs rebelled and now they are ready to enter the world.

Ms Bakis greatest achievement is to make this whole scenario seem totally plausible and she creates a set of characters who earn our affection and eventually our pity, as the dogs begin to descend into insanity. If ultimately she seems a little less sure-handed when the time comes to wield her creations and conclude the story, we are prepared to forgive her because the set up has been so provocative.  Like all the best monster fiction, the creatures serve to illuminate the question of what it means to be human.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Book-related and General Links:
    -Planet of the Scooby Doo (Review from The Australian)
    -Review (SF Site)
    -Review (Salon)
    -Bram Stoker Awards (Horror Writers Society)
    -REVIEW : of Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs (USA Today)
    -REVIEW: SF not meant for yahoos like us (John Clute, SF Site)