If you have read any of my work, you will know it generally includes animals in some form or another, often as pets, but sometimes also as point of view characters. Some of my favorite books feature animals that talk and interact in an almost human way, including Watership Down, Ozma of Oz, the Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Silverwing.
To me, a book isn’t complete unless it includes an animal of some sort. In the fantasy genre in particular, animals are almost a necessity (think horses, dragons, talking lions)—some of them talk, some of them do not, some of them are anthromorphised, some of them are not, but all animals in fiction help bring the story to life and, most importantly, create an emotional connection with readers. We love animal characters differently, and often more absolutely, than we love human characters. Think of how many beloved fictional animals there are: Shadowfax, Wilbur, Balloo, Aslan, Dug, Winnie the Pooh, Dory, Black Beauty, Old Yeller, just to name a few. Disney has taken the idea of animals as main characters to a whole new level with hundreds of movies with animals as point of view characters. Even in human-centric stories, animals often play the role of the sage, whacky or crafty side-kick, such as Scooby Doo, Snowy, Toto or Nymeria. Animals can be used to send a serious social message and reflect on human behavior, as in Animal Farm, or they can be used for comic relief or as protectors of their owners. No matter how they are portrayed, in the same way that people who have pets are often healthier and live longer lives, animals are an essential part of fiction and bring deeper emotional resonance to a story.
All that leads me to Chronicle Worlds: Tails of Dystopia, which launched on Monday and stayed in the top 1000 on Amazon all week. It is an amazing anthology described as “1984 meets The Incredible Journey”. It contains thirteen dystopian tales about animals by some of the best writers in science fiction today, including USA Today bestselling authors David Adams and Cheri Lasota, Wall Street Journal bestselling authors Daniel Arthur Smith and Ann Christy, and Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner Rysa Walker.
I am very honored to have a story “Cry Wolf” in the anthology that is set in the world of my dystopian novel In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation. All of the stories in Tails of Dystopia unfold through the eyes of animals and are set in the dystopian worlds created by their authors. Tails of Dystopia is only 99 cents this week, so get your copy now. The first anthology in the Tails series, Tails of the Apocalypse is also only 99 cents for the month of November, so check it out as well. I would also like to put in a plug for Chronicle Worlds: B Movie—if you like mummies and killer koalas, don’t miss it.
Most importantly, proceeds from Tails of Dystopia help support the charity Pets for Vets, which rescues and re-trains shelter animals and matches them with military veterans in need of a companion animal. Pets for Vets helps heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with animals that have been selected for them, while at the same time giving a shelter animal a second chance at life. It is a great cause and one that the authors in Tails are glad to support.