Review: ‘Dogs of War’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This is a great example of speculative fiction. Anyone concerned with A.I. and the ‘rise of the machines’ should read this before worrying about a robot uprising. In the not-so-distant future, this book suggests, it is likely that already existing creatures will be bent to the will of the warmongers and turned into genetically-engineered ‘bioforms’; it is not only easier than building lifelike robots but far cheaper and more reliable.

The basic premise is that weapons are not innately bad, that is down to the user, but what happens when the weapons are sentient and begin to question their masters’ motives? The main character, Rex, is a seven foot tall dog ‘bioform’, toting heavy weaponry and essentially bulletproof, whose growl can render his master’s enemies catatonic with fear. Rex is a good dog and does what he is told, like all good dogs, but he also has a mind of his own and along with the rest of his squad, starts to wonder who these enemies are and why Master wants them dead.

It is a thoughtful and compelling read, offering a timely exploration of the dangers of A.I. and super weapons in the hands of the unscrupulous. Engaging, exciting, and familiar yet alien, the themes are not new but the handling of them is vibrant and fresh; Tchaikovsky uses the familiar ‘man’s best friend’ concept to great effect.

In short, the novel is well worth a read and I would highly recommend it.

Good book, ‘Dogs of War’. Good book.

5*

Dogs of War

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