King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats by James Patrick Kelly
In James Patrick Kelly’s novella, King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, we visit a backwater planet called Boon where humans live with uplifted dogs and cats.
Our protagonist, Gio Barbaro, is the clone of the man who created the government, called The Supremacy, generations before. Gio’s job is to maintain the family’s position and power in the senate.
The Supremacy, though, is losing control as dogs are walking off the job and cats are forming unions. The cats and dogs are just as intelligent as humans, but they’ve been relegated to boring and/or dirty menial jobs. They want more out of life, but the conservative Supremacy won’t recognize them as equal.
Another problem for the Supremacy is the looming clone crisis. The Supremacy relies on cloning technology to keep power, but they’ve lost the technology. When the animals rise up against them, they will not be able to control them.
Boon is on the brink of a revolution. That’s when Gio, who is more progressive than his grandfather, is invited to join a subversive circus…
King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats is confusing at first as Kelly drops us right into his world with little exposition or backstory. I caught on, though, and found myself enjoying a story about uplifted dogs and cats, though I wish there had been more to it. I was most interested, though, in the “thousands worlds” referred to, which are connected by wormholes. Like Gio, I would love to explore more of these worlds.
King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats is available as a hardcover and ebook from Subterranean Press and in audiobook format from Skyboat Media. I listened to the audiobook because it was read by one of my favorite narrators, Stefan Rudnicki. He did a wonderful job, of course. The audiobook is 2.25 hours long.