So when I read and loved the first story, Christopher M. Hiles’ “The Shepherds,” I figured that I would be coming across a dud soon. When I finished “Brothers” by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, the final story in the collection, I realized that those duds never showed their face. Editor Mike McPhail’s Dogs of War is brilliant military science fiction from start to finish.
Part of the Defending the Future military science fiction anthology series, Dogs of War takes the theme of dogs (or other companion animals) in combat, and runs with it in seventeen different directions, each one fascinating. Some, like the aforementioned story by Hiles, felt like the start of a much bigger story, and readers will be keeping their eyes peeled for more from these authors.
Authors embraced the ideas of robotic dogs in combat, birds of prey performing recon, entire units made up of nothing but augmented animals, some even exploring the boundaries (or lack thereof) or human and canine soldiers in the future. Readers concerned that Dogs of War would be a sappy collection of military science fiction dog lover stories are missing out on the massive breadth of content, the engaging conflicts and fascinating futures, and a host of talented authors. Military science fictions fans will love this anthology.