Skip to main content

The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick

* Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate and sponsored links. Learn more on my Disclosure page.

The Dog Said Bow-Wow

by Michael Swanwick

• Word count: 6231
• Page count: 16

The Dog Said Bow-Wow is an award winning science fiction short story by Michael Swanwick. It is about two scoundrels who have concocted the perfect con game in a future London.

The Dog Said Bow-Wow follows the story of Sir Plus, a re-made talking dog, and Darger, his partner in crime. Together they come up with a plan to bilk Buckingham palace out of some of its wealth. Set in a future similar to Gene Wolfe’s The Book of The New Sun, and years after a war between men and their electronic creations, the two have created the perfect con – except for one small detail.

A superbly written and delightful story that is reminiscent of great con man movies (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Sting), The Dog Said Bow-Wow is full of wonderful imagery and clever word play.

The Dog Said Bow-Wow won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2002, and was nominated for the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

The dog looked as if he had just stepped out of a children’s book. There must have been a hundred physical adaptations required to allow him to walk upright. The pelvis, of course, had been entirely reshaped. The feet alone would have needed dozens of changes. He had knees, and knees were tricky.

To say nothing of the neurological enhancements.

But what Darger found himself most fascinated by was the creature’s costume. His suit fit him perfectly, with a slit in the back for the tail, and again, a hundred invisible adaptations that caused it to hang on his body in a way that looked perfectly natural.

“You must have an extraordinary tailor,” Darger said.

Where you can find The Dog Said Bow-Wow:
The Dog Said Bow-Wow originally appeared in the October/November 2001 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.
• You can read a nice HTML version online at the Internet Archives Wayback Machine.
• You can read this story (along with two other adventures of Surplus and Darger) in Michael Swanwick’s 2007 book of collected short stories The Dog Said Bow-Wow.

Michael Swanwick, the author of The Dog Said Bow-Wow, has won nearly every major science fiction award, and his short stories have appeared in a plethora of magazines. Learn more about him on his website.

If you like this story you may also like The Clockwork Atom Bomb by Dominic Green.