I am searching for a book that I read a long time ago.

It is set in a world with two societies, one living in sealed, high-tech cities, and one living a primitive lifestyle in the jungle or forest - they are all human though.

Occasionally the two sides meet to trade but it is the city-dwellers who have the power, which they maintain through robot dogs patrolling outside.

The inner workings of these dogs are exposed (they are not disguised as real dogs).

One character (the protagonist, I think) finds a screwdriver and takes it to an elder in his village and asks him whether it could be used as a weapon against the dogs. The old man laughs and says that the dog would kill him before he even got the first screw out. The young man then asks what a screw is. So the old man was either privy to some handed-down knowledge, or remembers the world before the split into the two factions.

Are there any ideas what this book could be?

  • Sound's a lot like "Deathworld" by Harry Harrison, but I don't remember robot dogs or the screwdriver.
    – Dima
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 20:03
  • Definitely not Deathworld, but thanks
    – Gaius
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 20:21
  • Sounds a little like something Lucius Shepard or Dave Wolverton might have written. Was it set in South America?
    – Joe L.
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 11:10
  • 1
    Have you checked out this list to see if the book you're looking for is on there?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 19:11
  • 1
    I don't know its name, I'm sorry, but it sounds as if this might be the story on which a filk song (SF-based folk song) I learned in the 1980s was based. It was called The White Hounds and it was about robot dogs who guarded a city and who were meant to be mere machines, but actually had secret private lives. I may have it on a tape somewhere, in which case it may well have the name of the original story in the blurb for the song, but I moved house recently so I'll have to do some hunting to find my old tapes. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


Perhaps the Neo Dogs mentioned in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers books?

If my memory serves me correctly, the Neo Dog (which was referred to as a Caleb) was permanently bonded to a human in the K9 Corps. If the human in this pair died, the Neo dog was automatically euthanized. If the Neo-dog died, the human had to be hospitalized to recover from the rupture in the bond.

They were mentioned in the first book of the trilogy;

"They talk. You simply have to train your ear to their accent. Their mouths can't shape 'b', 'm', 'p', or 'v' and you have to get used to their equivalents...their speech is as clear as any human speech. But a neodog is not a talking dog; he is not a dog at all, he is an artificially mutated symbiote derived from dog stock. A neo...is about six times as bright as a dog, say about as intelligent as a human moron..."

"...Can you imagine being married to a Caleb?"

"Huh? No. No, I can't."

"The emotional relationship between the dog-man and the man-dog in the K-9 team is a great deal closer and much more important than is the emotional relationship in most marriages."

  • 1
    What "trilogy"? Starship Troopers is a standalone novel by R. A. Heinlein. (I hear it's been made into a movie. A shorter version "Starship Soldier" ran as a two-part serial in F&SF.) Are you mixing it up with Stasheff's Starship Troupers?
    – user14111
    Commented May 17, 2014 at 23:45
  • He may be referring to the games (looks like there've been four of them), which is where the Calebs show up. That said, I doubt this would match up to the question.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 11:56
  • Calebs were not robotic. Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 4:59
  • @Leilani Wilson: Not even close.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 16:03

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