Friday, February 7, 2020

King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, by James Patrick Kelly (author), Stefan Rudnicki (narrator)

Skyboat Media, January 2020

At some undetermined but certainly distant point in the future, Gio Barbero, Junior Senator, lives on the world of Boon. He's the clone descendant of Boon's ancient founders, and he's painfully aware that there are problems on Boon.

Cats and dogs have been Uplifted, and are citizens with "equivalent"--not equal--rights. They're not happy at their limited rights and mostly doing low-level jobs, including as servants in the homes of the "grands," the people like Gio and his elder clone-brother, Fra, clone-descendants of the founders.

What Gio and the other Grands know that the general population, human or otherwise, doesn't know, is that the clone technology they inherited, and don't really understand fully, is failing. The government of the Grands, the Supremacy, is poised to fail.

And there's an announcement that is stirring up everyone, because they don't really know what it means. There's a circus coming to town--The Scofflaw Circus. The residents of Boon have to look up both "scofflaw" and "circus." And it comes from offworld, where people have strange ideas.

But Gio really likes the Uplifted dogs, and is at least sympathetic to the Uplifted cats, and he's a secret dissident. When he's approached by a cat calling herself Scratch, who wants to recruit him for the circus, he's open to it.

I had a little trouble getting into the story at first, but found it well worth persisting a little further, till it did grab me. Gio, Fra, Scratch, a woman whose name sounds like Klee but whose name spelling I won't guess, as well as the cats and dogs around them, are interest characters worth getting to know, and they're coping with complicated and unavoidable cultural change.

Kelly rarely fails, and this is an enjoyable and satisfying novella. Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

No comments:

Post a Comment