What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Query abandoned by poster > ABANDONED. Short Story, Science Fiction, Dog

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message 1: by Bryan (new)

Bryan (blyoung) Hi, just wondering if somebody can identify this story that I read about 3 decades ago...

It was part of an anthology or collection, and I think it was a pretty major author (Asimov, or Clarke) but not sure.

Anyways, the stories each had brief introductions, and the author said that this story's origin came from an argument that they had with another SF writer (or SF editor - perhaps John Campbell).

Anyways, the argument was that you couldn't write a story unless the protagonist was intelligent. So the author wrote a story about a dog to try to prove him wrong. He did admit in the introduction that it was very hard to make the story interesting.

All I remember about the story is that the dog does mundane things - there's no humans at all. I think the dog lays around a while, then goes looking for things, and then lays around again. But my memory is not so clear after all this time.

Anybody remember a story about a dog with no humans?

To clarify: This was a stand-alone story, not part of a fix-up, and not something the author ever came back to again.

If it helps, I think the dog was hanging around a university in an abandoned city. It laid around waiting for routine things to happen, then it got up and ran around, and then it came back again.

Not much to go on, but that's all I can remember after 3 decades. Actually, the only reason I remember it at all is due to the foreward, in which the author explained how this was written as an exercise (or perhaps as a dare) to do something that had been discussed as "impossible" among his writing friends.

Thanks for your help.

message 2: by Bryan (new)

Bryan (blyoung) Nobody remember reading an offbeat story with no intelligent being whatsoever as protagonist?

message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1396 comments Bryan wrote: "Nobody remember reading an offbeat story with no intelligent being whatsoever as protagonist?"

It's been only a few days. Give it a couple of weeks, or even months. Occasionally books are found immediately, but it's more common that quite a bit of time elapses before they're found. In 4 days, I'd wager that not all members have yet had time to read this threat.

message 4: by Bryan (new)

Bryan (blyoung) I went through the list of Asimov short stories on wikipedia (most of which have a brief synopsis), and it seems that all the stories I checked have human protagonists.

Anybody got any suggestions for this story? It was in an anthology or collection of stories, and if I can find the name of that one story, then I can find the name of the book in which it was found.


message 5: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (verkisto) | 25 comments Based on what you say about the introduction alone, I wonder if it's a Harlan Ellison story. He goes into almost clinical detail to describe the circumstances of nearly everything he publishes.

message 6: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk | 184 comments I'm pretty sure it's not an Ellison. It's definitely not A Boy and his Dog, or Vic and Blood. Something in the back of my mind hints at Theodore Sturgeon, though.

message 7: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) I looked through all my Sturgeon and Ellison and they all had humans as main characters. (Ellison seems to have a lot of collections, and I didn't look through all the stories there, just the titles).

message 8: by ♥Xeni♥ (last edited Dec 08, 2010 04:40PM) (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Nothing by Asimov either, and I think I own everything by him. I'd go through the rest of my Sci-Fi, but I have over 1000 authors and it's a pain. Sorry.

message 9: by Bryan (new)

Bryan (blyoung) I've not read any collections by Ellison, so it can't be him. But I have read quite a bit of Sturgeon. I'll have to look into that.

message 10: by Penny (new)

Penny Pretty | 1 comments Is it City by Clifford Simak?

message 11: by Andy (new)

Andy Love | 2102 comments Reminds me of Roog by Phillip K. Dick http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roog

message 12: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Dutcher  | 340 comments This is annoying because I know what you are talking of but search isn't helping me either. It's exactly as you describe it, the story was a result of a bet between a writer and an editor that you couldn't do a story without an intelligent protagonist. It pops up now and then in SF discussions about writing, but for the life of me I can't seem to find a reference to it on Google.

I think it might be Arthur C. Clarke, but it is from a major SF writer, and I think I read about it in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Very annoying because this is something search engines should be able to find for us easily.

message 13: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 40165 comments Mod
Bryan, are you still looking for this story?

message 14: by Bargle (last edited Nov 01, 2013 03:38AM) (new)

Bargle | 1346 comments Even if he isn't, I'd like to know because now I want to read it.

Unintelligent protagonist story.

message 15: by Scott (new)

Scott (smchure) | 77 comments I was just glancing through Asimov's The Complete Stories, Vol 1 and Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories, Vol. 2. In it he mentions writing several stories after having arguments with writers and/or editors. I'll need to go through them again to see if that story is there.
I,like Penny, also thought of City by Clifford Simak.

message 16: by Bargle (new)

Bargle | 1346 comments My curiosity continues.

Unintelligent protagonist story.

message 17: by Bargle (new)

Bargle | 1346 comments And continues still.

Unintelligent protagonist story.

message 18: by Scott (new)

Scott "Friend's Best Man" by Jonathan Carroll?

message 19: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 40165 comments Mod
Bryan has left the group.

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