I'm looking for a sci-fi novel I read in the early 2000s at a local library. Judging by how often they actually got new books, it has to be from between the '50s and '80s — if I had to guess, late 70s? The most prominent things I remember:

  • Canine aliens were the main alien species.
  • There was one human boy that was like their pet. Besides him, there may have been one other human that was seen.
  • The aliens put a large amount of importance on poetry shaped like its subject. The boy wrote a poem about either the Moon or Earth that was round in shape.
  • One of the aliens was named Oberon, and the human frequently called him "Obie."
  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Nice question, but you should still check out the suggestions for asking story-id questions to see if they help you recall any additional details you can edit into your question. For example, do you remember what the cover looked like?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 2:19
  • 3
    I remember that book. The alien race was called the Haakli (or something, I'm sure the spelling is wrong) and they had another species of animal called the hoohick (again, spelling is wrong.) The human boy once complained about "pithing the cubs" which is when they had to lobotomize some newborn hoohicks. I definitely remember the word poetry. I remember he wrote a poem about the Earth. The words made a circle shape, and off to the side were the words "It has the moon too" arranged in a circle to represent the moon.
    – Kenny
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 3:42
  • If you think someone has the right answer, you can accept it by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


Homegoing, by Frederik Pohl

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Sandy Washington was a pretty normal guy. The only unusual thing about him was that Sandy had been raised by aliens on their spaceship. The Hakh'hli had done everything they could to give Sandy an Earth-type boyhood. Now, finally, the Hakh'hli were bringing Sandy home to Earth. And while they were at it, they intended to give humanity some extraordinary gifts. The Hakh'hli seemed to have Sandy's & humanity's best interests at heart. But the people of Earth weren't so sure.

There's Obie/Oberon:

By the time Obie came back, looking chipper and pleased with himself, they had reached the boiling point. “Oberon, you’re a hoo-hik turd!” Polly thundered, and Helen and Tanya chimed in.

There's a character named Bottom:

“Were there lots of eggs?” Bottom asked enviously.

And pithing the cubs:

“You did it already,” Sandy pointed out. “I’m sorry, Obie. I guess I just don’t like pithing cubs.”

“What’s the matter, Sandy? You’ve done it before.”

“I didn’t like it then, either,” Lysander confessed.

“But we have to pith them,” Obie said reasonably. “For their own sake, you know? It keeps them from being too smart.”

And here's the poem:

        Oh, my
   almost forgotten
 terrestrial homeland!
I dream of you each day
and think of you asleep
and wish the experience
 of treading upon your
  soil would come, O

 it has the
 pretty old

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