Welcome to Friday Firsts – a new weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. New Book: First paragraphs. First impressions. New favourite?
| Friday Firsts: March 23 |
Dogs of War
by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Science Fiction | 262 Pages | Published by Head of Zeus in 2017
| First Paragraphs |
My name is Rex. I am a Good Dog.
See Rex run. Run, enemy, run. That is Master’s joke.
My squad is Dragon, Honey and Bees. They are a Multiform Assault Pack. That means they are not Good Dogs.
I am coming close to the enemy now. I am coming from downwind. I can smell them: there are at least thirty human beings in their camp. I can smell guns. I cannot smell explosives. I cannot smell other dogs or any Bioform breeds, just humans who are enemies.
I am talking to my guns. They tell me they are ready and operational. All systems optimal, Rex, they tell me. Good Dog, well done for remembering, says my feedback chip.
They are called Big Dogs, my guns. This is a joke by the people who gave me them. They are on my shoulders and they will shoot when I talk to them, because I need my hands for other tasks than pulling triggers. They are called Big Dogs because humans are too little to use them without hurting themselves.
I do not like the thought of humans hurting themselves. Bad Dog! comes the thought. I like humans. Humans made me. Enemies are different.
I am talking to my squad. Dragon is not replying but his feedback signal shows that he is alive and not already fighting. Dragon is difficult. Dragon has his own way of doing things and often he conflicts with what Master has told me. Master says “Dragon gets results,” and so I cannot tell him to stop being Dragon, but I cannot be happy with him being Dragon. Dragon makes me uncomfortable.
Honey is talking to me. She is in position with the Elephant Gun. This name is also a joke. Like the other jokes, I do not understand this one. Honey is not an elephant.
Bees is talking to me. She reports 99 per cent integrity. Bees doesn’t have or need a gun. Bees is ready. Honey is ready. Dragon had better be ready or I will bite him, even if that makes me a Bad Dog.
I am talking to Master on our encrypted channel. Master tells me I am a Good Dog. I am in position and there is no sign from the enemy that they know I am here.
Master tells me I can attack. Master hopes I do well. I want very much to make Master proud of me.
I tell Honey to start. She has gone crosswind of the enemy camp. I can smell her but they cannot. She talks to her targeting system and I listen in as it identifies targets of opportunity. Honey agrees. They send eleven explosive shells into the camp from a distance of four hundred metres, aiming for maximum disruption. As soon as the eleventh is away, even as the first shell hits, I am moving in.
I see the fire. I hear the sound of human voices, shrill above the explosions. Run, enemy, run.
| First Impressions |
This is a really intriguing opener and unlike anything I’ve read from Adrian Tchaikovsky so far. I’m not certain how the story will develop, or how the Multiform Assault Pack will come across as living, breathing creat… genetically engineered bioforms, but I can’t wait to find out!
What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?