ID a book about pack telepathic wolves
February 23, 2010 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Help me ID this scifi/fantasy book: humans (and a very young boy) encounter alien telepathic wolf/dog packs! Several parts are told from the wolves' and boy's point of view.

I noticed there are lots of book identification posts tonight: time to post mine!

I'm looking to ID a science fiction / fantasy novel involving wolves or dogs with pack-telepathy, who encounter humans. I think the packs were about 4-6 wolves. The humans may have crash landed? gone on a research mission? on the planet with the wolves.

One part of the story has a very young boy / toddler getting lost, and by chance ending up in a area with a telepathic pack of puppies on kept their own. The toddler is raised with the puppies and bonds with them as if a wolf himself. Puppies may have had a guardian that kept watch but ignored the human boy?

I seem to remember another part where one member of a wolf pack is shot (by a human? another alien?); the part is told from the pack's point of view and describes the pack's shock at the loss.

I am not sure why this book is stuck in my head now, other than I really enjoyed it as a teen.
posted by SarahbytheSea to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sounds a bit like Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep
posted by Zonker at 8:22 PM on February 23, 2010

Response by poster: Yes!!! Thank you Zonker, that's exactly it and amazingly fast!

Reading the synopsis, now I remember the boy's sister Johanna, and Peregrine, and more of the overarching conflict that was very fuzzy... looking forward to reading it again! Many thanks.
posted by SarahbytheSea at 8:34 PM on February 23, 2010

Incidentally, I love the synopsis. It's not every day you get a line like the following:

"[...] an award-winning space opera involving superhuman intelligences, aliens, variable physics, space battles, love, betrayal, genocide, and a conversation medium resembling Usenet."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:54 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

One of the best science fiction novels of the 1990s. The machine-translated USENET posts were hilarious.
posted by kindall at 9:02 PM on February 23, 2010

This is one of my favorite books of all time - perhaps my favorite sci-fi book ever. I highly recommend the very loosely connected prequel, A Deepness in the Sky.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:53 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fire Upon the Deep is one of the very few SF books that I can read over and over and over and over again. Just fantastic.
posted by KathrynT at 10:03 PM on February 23, 2010

A Fire Upon the Deep won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1993 (with Willis' Doomsday Book.

I think it would be remiss of me not to point out that the book is science fiction, so the Tines (the dog-like creatures) are not, in fact, telepathic. They use high frequency sound waves to communicate. That's why fitting them with two-way radios is such a monumental breakthrough. Since radio waves travel so much faster than sound waves, the Tines can spread out as a pack much further without losing cohesiveness.

It's actually fairly hard SF, not fantasy.
posted by Justinian at 10:45 PM on February 23, 2010

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