Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10 stories about "uplifted" animals with human intelligence

This summer's blockbuster movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the "story of a lab ape named Caesar, 'uplifted' to human intelligence by scientists, who leads a revolution against humanity," writes Annalee Newitz at io9. "But he's hardly the first brain-augmented creature to question human values." Another noteworthy story about "uplifted" animals with human intelligence:
The Lives of the Monster Dogs, by Kirsten Bakis.

This is quite simply an incredible book about dogs given human-like intelligence and upper-class manners by an early-twentieth-century mad Austrian. It's gorgeously written from the point of view of the Vanity Fair reporter assigned to cover the dogs' story when they come to live in New York. What's brilliant about this novel is that the dogs feel like aliens not so much because they are humanoid canines, but because the United States is so modern compared to the tiny backwoods berg where they came of age. So they feel like anachronisms, early twentieth-century creatures thrust into a contemporary world of cell phones and televisions that they can never understand. Step inside Bakis' gothic dog world and you won't be able to leave until the novel is done.
Read about another book on Newitz's list.

--Marshal Zeringue