Lives of the Monster Dogs

by Kirsten Bakis | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by platypussj of Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on 2/17/2004
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
19 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by platypussj from Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Futuristic and fantastic. And feasible? If man had it's way then 'yes'.

Like fantasy, love animals? Want something that will make you think? Prepared to cry unashamedly? Read this, it's glorious.


Journal Entry 2 by platypussj from Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on Sunday, August 22, 2004
Sent to bookfrogster.

Journal Entry 3 by bookfrogster from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 25, 2004
This has been on my to read list for ages, so great to finally get my mitts on a copy. Thank you so much plattypussj for sending it to me, and also for the lovely card.

Journal Entry 4 by bookfrogster from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, September 05, 2004
I've just finished this book after reading it in one sitting. What an imaginative story, and it worked too! I was completely able to believe in Ludwig and the other dogs having their own "human" personalities. Thanks for making this available plattypussj.

Journal Entry 5 by bookfrogster from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, September 18, 2004
Sending this out as UK book ray. Names so far listed below

Auglaise
squirk
spike1972
amanida
allycat898
semioticghost

Released 15 yrs ago (9/21/2004 UTC) at West Maitland Street Post Office in Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom

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Off on it's merry way to Auglaise as the first person on the ray list. Happy reading!

Journal Entry 7 by Auglaise from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, September 23, 2004
Received yesterday. Thank you!

Journal Entry 8 by Auglaise from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, September 27, 2004
This wasn't anything like I expected it to be, but I liked it all the same. I enjoyed how it was narrated and how the author used Rank's story throughout the novel. It would have been nice to have a bit more insight into what was going wrong with the dogs and I must say that I wanted them to survive and continue to exist in New York! Thanks for sharing with me, and I'll send it off as soon as I can. ^_^

Journal Entry 9 by Auglaise at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, October 04, 2004

Released 15 yrs ago (10/4/2004 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Posting today!

Journal Entry 10 by squirk from West Norwood, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Received with thanks and much excitement today - can't wait to read it!

Journal Entry 11 by squirk from West Norwood, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, October 30, 2004
Very easy to read and the dogs were very believable as humans. I was a bit disappointed by the end and felt as if I'd missed something - a link of sorts - but can't put my finger on it. I liked the diary-like, historic entries and thought Augustus Rank's story was one of the best threads in the book. Thanks for sharing, platypussj. Off to Spike1972 as soon as I get to the Post Office.


Journal Entry 12 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Arrived this morning, thanks Squirk, and thanks for the card too.

And of course thanks to Platypuss for sharing. A book with dogs in it - what more could I want?! ;o)

Journal Entry 13 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, January 23, 2005
I just wanted to update people to say that I've started this book. Please excuse the delay but I had a few books on Mt Tbr before this one.

Journal Entry 14 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass this book on partially un-read.

I've just been struggling too long to get into it. Saying that, I *don't* think it's the book, as much as my inability to sit down and concentrate enough to read for any length of time.

And overall I think I've held this up far too long as it is, so as soon as I get an address for amanida, I'll be posting it on.

I would hope that I'll get another opportunity to read it again in the future, as it is still a book that interests me.

Thanks bookfrogster for giving me the opportunity to read it, and to everyone for showing patience with me.

Journal Entry 15 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, February 17, 2005
I should've journalled this yesterday, but I now have an address for amanida, so will be posting within the next day or two I hope.

Journal Entry 16 by Amanida from Chertsey, Surrey United Kingdom on Saturday, February 19, 2005
Received from Spike, thanks - looks interesting.....will start it when I've finished my current book.

Journal Entry 17 by Amanida from Chertsey, Surrey United Kingdom on Sunday, February 20, 2005
Bizarre, brilliant and unputdownable - I started it this morning and had to continue until the end, even though I'm nor particularly keen on dogs! I found it quite extraordinary and very imaginative.
Thanks for sharing, platypussj and Spike1972, you should definitely give it another try. Off to allycat898 when I get the address.

Journal Entry 18 by allycat898 from Lincoln, Lincolnshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Arrived safely

Journal Entry 19 by allycat898 from Lincoln, Lincolnshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Really couldn't get into this so I think i'm going to pass it on half read, probably not the book's fault but mine, i'm just struggling with anything i'm reading at the moment, hopefully semioticghost will have more luck than me. Thanks for sending this out though.

Ally.

I'll pass this on once i get semioticghost's address.

Posted 24/3/05

Journal Entry 20 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 29, 2005
This arrived today, and I'm looking forward to reading it, thank you very much for sharing!

Journal Entry 21 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Monday, May 09, 2005
I enjoyed this, read it in a day while journeying to Germany shortly after receiving it. It's an unusual novel, full of grandeur and a certain victorian sadness, riding the winds of inevitable decay.

Journal Entry 22 by Semioticghost at on Friday, May 13, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (5/14/2005 UTC) at

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To be taken to the Ipswich Meetup to see whether I can get somebody else to read it - something this novel deserves!

Journal Entry 23 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, May 14, 2005
Thanks for bringing this along to the meet-up Esther - and to everyone else in the 'chain to date. It looks, erm...unusual, I hope I enjoy it :)

Journal Entry 24 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, February 06, 2006
To get the ‘critical’ part of my review out of the way first; I didn’t think this was great writing nor did I feel much empathy with the ‘Monster dogs’ of the title or their human friend & pet (?) Cleo. But, there was plenty of meat for me to enjoy, not least the stunning, albeit fantastical, idea of the dogs and their evolution from the earliest cruel experiments by Augustus Rank in Bavaria & Switzerland to their secret home in Canada, Rankstadt, and beyond.

The other bits that I liked – do stop me if I sound like a pretentious pseudo-intellectual(!) – were the changed relationship between man and dog, and the philosophy & pathos of Ludwig (the dogs’ self-appointed biographer), and the analogies & lessons for the human condition.
Towards the end he [Ludwig] comes to a realisation that it is only hopes & desires that make life worth living, and with no past and no future as a species, the Monster dogs are in a soulless limbo (i.e. regression into their natural ‘animal’ behaviour, the debauchery of Neuhundstein, and progressive madness?)

"Hope is motion. Curiosity, desire, and hope alone can keep the surface from being drawn back to reveal the terrifying mechanism of the world"

Unless I’m reading too much into the book, it is the love of Cleo that allows both Ludwig & Lydia to survive (probably).

All in all an interesting & enjoyable book, ready to pass on if anyone has a new home in mind...?

Journal Entry 25 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 07, 2006
'caught' from BookGroupMan at the inaugural Cambridge (Caffe Nero branch) meet-up this afternoon. I'm looking forward to reading this once I've finished a couple of rings that I've got on the go.

Journal Entry 26 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, May 26, 2006
This has been sitting on my shelf for a few months since BGM gave it to me at a meet. Earlier this week, I found myself without a ring book to read (gasp) so _Lives of the Monster Dogs_ suddenly found itself at the top of my reading list.
And once I'd started, I could barely put it down. It's an astonishingly accomplished book: at once beast fable/moral allegory, which raises questions of the ethics of genetic modification and explores what it means to be fully human.
Kirsten Bakis' achievement is that this allegorical aspect to the book does not feel forced: the narrative is simultaneuously an extremely touching story of friendship and adversity.

I'm going to see whether there's any interest in another ring for this book.
Thanks Tony for passing it to me :-)

Journal Entry 27 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Saturday, June 03, 2006
Will soon start out travelling again on a ray:
Rivercassini
dsc

Journal Entry 28 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, June 10, 2006
Just arrived this morning, thanks LindyB28. Looks so intriguing that I'm tempted to make it the next on my list (and it shouldn't be - like buses, bookrings always come in threes).

Journal Entry 29 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, June 11, 2006
The Lives of the Monster dogs should have been an exceptional novel. It has an intriguing premise and all the elements required for a gripping plot - dastardly scientists, loyal and dependable dogs and of course a crusading, innocent journalist to come to the rescue.

It is a retrospective account of the dying days of a race of dogs, the result of over 100 years of experimentation, genetic manipulation and physical alteration. Fitted with artificial hands and mechanic voice boxes, these dogs were designed to the perfect foot soldiers - tough, intelligence, loyal and deadly - but by the time their race has been perfected the ghoulish man who first conceived of them is long dead and with him has gone any sense of their purpose or any concept of whom they were intended to fight. Frustrated, the monster dogs rise up against the community in which they were bred, massacring their human masters and, after years of wondering around the North American continent, descend on an unsuspecting New York with all the grace and elegance of 19th century Prussian High Society - and fabulous wealth to boot.

Having already been asked to accept that a village in Canada could exist for over a hundred years unnoticed by anyone else and that a troupe of 150 or so man-sized speaking dogs dressed in Victorian costume could, in the early 21st century, roam through Canada and New England for eight years without comment, the reader is now asked to believe that the monster dogs would be accepted by New Yorkers with little more interest or comment than that which would be generated by the arrival of a Hollywood B-star. This is, quite frankly, too much. The author's argument that "hey, all New Yorkers are immigrants anyway and therefore understand and accept diversity" just isn't convincing. And this is the real flaw in the novel: while its language and scenario are rooted in the realism of today, its central premise is incredible and the reader is given no assistance to suspend disbelief.

This doesn't undermine the work entirely. It has a lot of good points. It is a fun and easy read, always thought-provoking and at times grotesques or moving. The drawing of the characters of the dogs is masterly, in particular those of Lydia, a tender and intelligent friend of peace, and Ludwig who alone seems to struggle to accept his differences. Yet ultimately, The Lives of the Monster Dogs fails to deliver on the promise of its premise, in part because of its incredible nature and in part because it, tantalisingly, fails to exploit fully the psychological issues it raises. One is left feeling that the author has squandered an opportunity to write something of real merit and lasting significance.

Released 13 yrs ago (6/12/2006 UTC) at Royal Mail in By Post, a postal release -- Controlled Releases

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In the post to dsc tomorrow morning.

Journal Entry 31 by dsc from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Arrived safely this morning, most intriguing!!
I am reading another bookring at the moment but this one will be next on the list. Thank you Rivercassini.

Journal Entry 32 by dsc from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Friday, June 23, 2006
I enjoyed this book. It was a very imaginative story, but quite sad. The dogs did not ask to be "enhanced" and should not have been. I do sometimes wish my dog could talk but not if he had to be given a mechanical voicebox to do so.
It was never explained what the dog's illness was but i got the impression it may have been some kind of mass hysteria, since Cleo seemed to develop it too whilst in close proximity to all the dogs.
I hope Ludwig is still out there somewhere and has found happiness.

Journal Entry 33 by dsc from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Friday, June 23, 2006
I have found some more people who would like to read this so the ray will continue......

wubbaducky – uk - int’l surface.
Zepplin – uk – int’l
RockDg9 – Australia – int’l
Lovesbooks05 – uk – int’l surface
AliceF – uk

The last person can decide what happens to the book next.........

Released 13 yrs ago (6/24/2006 UTC) at Grahamstown in A bookcrosser , -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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In the post to wubbaducky, enjoy!

Journal Entry 35 by wubbaducky from not specified, not specified not specified on Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Arrived safe and sound this morning. I just need to finish another book first and then I'll get cracking on this one. I can't wait to read it though!

Journal Entry 36 by wubbaducky from not specified, not specified not specified on Friday, June 30, 2006
Oh wow - I absolutely loved this book! In fact, I think it's my favourite read of the year so far! I loved the concept and the characters and the poignancy which insinuated itself on every page without ever being cloying. There were unanswered questions which I found unsatisfying but it didn't detract from the pleasure of the book. It was very easy to read and the style of the writing reminded me of Dracula (journals and extracts) which made it easier to read than huge chunks of unbroken prose and it also gave fascinating insights into the minds of various characters. The dogs were surprisingly believable as "humans" and each bore a certain sad dignity that I found very touching. Perhaps New York's easy acceptance of the phenomenal dogs was a little stretching but no more strange than that concept of the dogs themselves, so I shan't criticise the book on that count.

Actually, I don't think I shall criticise the book. It was a beautifully written first novel with plenty of originality and sympathy that made me turn every page eagerly.

I have pmed Lovesbooks05 for their address and will send this wonderful book on asap. Thanks for sharing... and also thanks dsc for the skittles which I missed at first. In my eagerness to get to the book, I didn't notice there was still something in the envelope :) Yummy! :)

Lovesbooks05 has asked to be moved down the list so I've pmed AliceF for their address...

Who also asked to be skipped... I now have Zepplin's address though so will post out tomorrow!

Journal Entry 37 by wubbaducky from not specified, not specified not specified on Wednesday, July 05, 2006
After a minor trauma where I was convinced that this book didn't want to leave me, I posted it out to Zepplin today - hope you enjoy! Once again, many thanks to dsc for setting up the ring and sharing this wonderful book!

Journal Entry 38 by Zepplin from Calne, Wiltshire United Kingdom on Friday, July 07, 2006
This book arrived today thank you and I will be starting to read it in the next few days.

Journal Entry 39 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Arrived here in Australia today.

Journal Entry 40 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, August 15, 2006
This was a fantastic novel! I enjoyed it so much ... the reader is drawn completely into the story which, as bizarre as it may be, is totally believable. The characters were brilliantly portrayed.

I will PM LovesBooks05 for an address. Posted 16 August.

Journal Entry 41 by Lovesbooks05 from Motherwell, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, September 03, 2006
Got it through the post last week thought i had done this but i haven't.

Journal Entry 42 by AliceF from Coventry, West Midlands United Kingdom on Thursday, October 19, 2006
Gratefully received by post yesterday... thanks!

A group of dogs converge on New York in the early 21st century. They make intelligent conversation, walk on their hind legs and wear ultra-formal clothes of the type favoured in 19th-century Prussia. Where have they come from? And what is the strange illness that threatens them with extinction?

Journal Entry 43 by AliceF at Coventry, West Midlands United Kingdom on Thursday, December 30, 2010
Really enjoying this book so far (about 1/5 the way in)... it's what I pick up to read when I go for a bath... unlike most other books I read right now, which are on my new Kindle!

Journal Entry 44 by AliceF at Fort Collins, Colorado USA on Sunday, February 20, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (2/20/2011 UTC) at Fort Collins, Colorado USA

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Happy belated birthday!

Journal Entry 45 by Izzy5000 at Fort Collins, Colorado USA on Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Thanks for the book! It came as a great surprize!

Journal Entry 46 by Izzy5000 at Fort Collins, Colorado USA on Saturday, August 20, 2011
This was a really great book! It is one of the more unique stories I have read in a long time. I had no idea what to expect when I opened this book, but I'm happy with the way it turned out :)

Journal Entry 47 by Izzy5000 at Fort Collins, Colorado USA on Saturday, December 10, 2011

Released 7 yrs ago (12/9/2011 UTC) at Fort Collins, Colorado USA

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Putting into Bookstogive's mush traveled bookbox :)

Journal Entry 48 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, January 05, 2012
I'm taking this from bookstogive's Making New Friends bookbox; I've heard good things about this book since it came out, but somehow never got around to reading it, so this is my chance!

Later: Very unusual story indeed, with a kind of magic-realism/fable vibe that becomes increasingly melancholy. The dogs have spent so long together, trying to be like their 19th-century creators, that few of them seem to give serious thought to seeking a different kind of life. Since they are dogs, the tendency to be part of a pack may be too difficult to overcome, though a few of them do give it a try. But the plans to create their own little world ("Neuhundstein," which I admit tickled me very much) within modern New York seem doomed from the start. And when we eventually learn more details about how they were created and how they finally broke free of their human creators/owners/masters - well, it's pretty grim. (There's a description by Ludwig from when he was still a puppy - sentient, intelligent, but still young enough to be allowed to go on all fours - accompanying his human mistress to the market and agonizing over all the tempting things that puppy-Ludwig yearned to chew, but that sentient-being-Ludwig had been taught (cruelly) to avoid... The image of the ungainly, leggy puppy with the beginnings of human thought trying to cope with the tantalizing smells of the butcher shop really got to me.)

Despite the moody atmosphere of the story I did hold out hopes for a few of the dogs, who were able to reach out to this new world and attempt to learn more about it - and about humans other than the ones who'd created them - but while there were some poignant, tentative relationships, the barriers seemed too great.

I liked the "found manuscript" format of the book, the different points of view, and the whimsical/heart-wrenching concept. Glad I got a chance to read this one!

Journal Entry 49 by wingGoryDetailswing at Town Common in Burlington, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, October 07, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (10/7/2012 UTC) at Town Common in Burlington, Massachusetts USA

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I left this book in the gazebo on the Burlington town common at about 1:30; hope the finder enjoys it!

*** Released as part of the 2012 Chills & Spills release challenge; the October theme is a free-for-all, and this book does feature a mad scientist. ***

*** Released for the 2012 Spook-tacular Halloween release challenge, for the word "monster" in the title. ***

*** Released for the 2012 You're Such an Animal" release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2012 TICK-TOCK Challenge, for the word "lives" in the title. ***

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