Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Boy's Best Friend?

A Boy's Best Friend? (2000) Post 291

A Boy's Best Friend? is a short science fiction novel for readers of ten or so. It's what I call a "bonsai novel" in that it has a fully-developed plot and characters, and doesn't present as something to "teach reading". It's a rare theme for me, in that the protagonist's trust in a friend is badly misplaced and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. 

Sim befriends a stray dog, a grey mix he names Larry. Larry is trouble. He's a great escape artist and an all round pain, but Sim is devoted to him. One day, Larry escapes and in pursuing him, Sim finds himself late for school and faced with the dilemma of either entering a building site when he knows he shouldn't, or leaving Larry to possibly be hurt or to cause an accident or both. He chooses to find his dog and, hearing him barking from down a hole, he attempts to rescue him. 
Bad mistake. He winds up in the future, about to be sold as a slave. A girl, Mel, who has been in slavery for a while, brings him up to speed. Sim is still worried about Larry, and is pleased when he turns up unharmed, but Mel bursts his bubble. Larry, or Merlin as she knows him, is part of the slavers' gang, a dog who acts to befriend children and then lure them through building site time chutes. Seeing a crack in the chain to which they are both shackled, Sim and Mel arrange to run, but though Sim escapes, Mel can't- she is lame. Sim sees Larry setting off on a new luring job and chases him, capturing him as he surfaces in our time. He resolves to put a stop to Larry/Merlin's career and to rescue Mel.
The title is a take on the "man's best friend" saying, and one of a handful of my books with punctuation in the title. And yes, it takes a swipe at the notion that animals are always innocent. (Savage Garden... I'm looking at YOU.)


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

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