I'm reading one book where the protagonist has a psychic bond with her pet, one that helps with hunting and scouting, and some fighting. (Snowdenaelikk and Briel).

So I started remembering older books with the same kind of pet connection: Flinx and Pip (1983-), Honor and Nimitz (1992-), Gillian and Pyewacket (1958 movie), for examples.

How far back does that go in science fiction and fantasy works? I know that familiars will feature heavily on the fantasy side so I'm hoping to shed some light on the science side, too.

  • ...which genre? – Adamant Jun 12 '16 at 3:08
  • Gilgamesh and Enkidu (written circa 2000 BC) Enkidu is a "shaggy man" but also described as a beast. – Valorum Jun 12 '16 at 11:58
  • My first thought was A Boy and His Dog, but that was written in 1969. – Joe L. Jun 12 '16 at 13:42
  • Elric and Moonglum had their strange black-and white cat that seemed to be Elric's familiar. Stormbringer was decidedly not a pet. – Spencer Jun 12 '16 at 15:58
  • Both science fiction and fantasy genres will have different answers. I'd forgotten about the winged, black and white cat! Seems like Enkidu ended up being more of a bro to go on adventures with than a pet, but I'm sure that stories of preternaturally smart pets go back at least as far. Thanks! – Patrick Hughes Jun 12 '16 at 19:08

Cordwainer Smith's The Game of Rat and Dragon was written in 1954.

From the wiki link above:

The story takes place in the far future. Human travel in outer space is threatened by strange creatures known as the Dragons. Imperceptible to ordinary people, Dragons are experienced as nothing but a sudden death or insanity. Dragons can only be destroyed by very strong light, but they move too fast for conventional defense methods. Both human and telepathic cats (who perceive the dragons as rats) are able to sense the creatures within milliseconds. The humans and cats work together as teams to protect interstellar spaceships traveling via planoforming (a type of faster than light speed travel). The cats ride outside of the spaceships in their own tiny crafts, waiting for the order from their human partner to attack. Pin-sets (telepathic amplifiers) heighten a telepath’s senses and allow the humans to communicate with their partner cats. The cats then destroy the Dragons with "pinlights", miniature nuclear bombs whose blast gives off pure visible radiance that can destroy the dragons. Thanks to the combination of the human mind and the cats' quick reactions, the battle against the Dragons is not only possible, but usually ends in victory.

  • Just like mankind, reach space and run around tossing nukes everywhere! – Patrick Hughes Jun 12 '16 at 19:09

The oldest SF that I know:
Telzey and Tick-Tock (from Novice by James H. Schmitz, in Analog, 1962).

It beats the Pern dragons from Anne McCaffrey in novella Weyr Search by 5 years. But are dragons ever pets?



Star Surgeon by Alan Nourse has an empathic fuzzy pink blob.1959. The Beast Master series by Andre Norton started in 1959-he had a team of telepathic animals.Also Catseye, though that was 1961.

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