The Gone Dogs

In November 1954, in Amazing Stories, Frank Herbert wrote a short story “The Gone Dogs” about a global pandemic that wiped out man’s best friend, all canines. As Science Fiction aficionados know well, Frank wrote the classic book “Dune”. It’s not the best short story that I have read, but he works out the ideas well working from basic principles. He quite clearly shows the bungled government response in setting up a hasty quarantine, and a really good character developed in the mentally ill Mme. Estagien Couloc, who¬† breaks the quarantine to illegally possess the last dog on earth. Unfortunately, she gives the poor dog the virus when she pets him. As Frank moralizes, “You always kill the one you love.”

I was reminded by this story from the curious case of the tiger Nadia in the Bronx Zoo who contracted the Covid19 SARS COV2 virus from her handler.

One can wonder at the sheer visionary power of these early Science Fiction stories. At one time, our society was forward looking. I have talked before about the effects of Future Shock. We have difficulty assimilating our life because too many things are happening. Life is alien and disorienting. This is natural. Another of the characters in Frank’s story is seven feet tall, and has seven fingers on each hand.


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