Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Space Dogs - A mission for Captain Archer's Beagle

If you google "Space Dogs" you will find plenty of Disney books and movies that are mind-numbing rather than valuable contributions to Science Fiction for children. But when I accidentally stumbled across a new book with the same title at the library, it turned into the most hilarious bedtime reading we had in a while.

Remember Leika, the first dog in space? According to Wikipedia Leika died in space. But according to Justin Bell and Evan Croker, a SiFi writer duo from Down Under I hope to read more from in the future, Leika ended up flying through a wormhole and landed on the planet of Gersbach, populated by intelligent beings similar to humans, just a lot tinier. When the planet's structural integrity is threatened by a Disturbance of Gravity (D.o.G) originating from Earth, Gersbach Space command sends a space craft to Earth to establish contact and save their civilization.

Unfortunately, there are several flaws in the plan. For one, Gersbachians assumed that Leika was a representative of the dominant species on Earth, so they shaped the space craft like a dog. As a result, First Contact with Earth's life forms would have made Captain Archer's Beagle proud, but left the Gersbachian crew rather embarrassed. Looking like an adorable pet, they are soon adopted (against their will) by 6th grader Lucy, and are thrown into the struggles of daily family life. And second, a renegade former colonel stole a proto-type dog-craft with the objective to collect the D.o.G. and blackmail Gersbach.

What made the book such a good read for all of my kids was the alternating view points of the Gersbachian crew versus Lucy and her sister Amy. The crew's story reads like a Star Trek episode with technical commands, 23rd century technology integrated into dog anatomy in hilarious ways, and lots of action sequences with an evil adversary. The story of Lucy and Amy, on the other hand, tells of the anxiety to fit in at a new school, complicated family life after the father can't work anymore due to injury, and Amy's crush on the coolest boy in school.

The only thing this book left us wishing for was the movie-adaptation. Laser nose. Need I say more?

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