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Questions tagged [animals]

Animals in science fiction and fantasy works have vital roles in many plots, including protagonists, antagonists, plot motivators and wise mentors.

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52 votes
1 answer
14k views

Why are there no animals in "The Matrix"?

Aside from the repetitive appearance of the black cat, I can't remember seeing any living animals, either inside the Matrix simulation or in Zion. How come? Is there an in-universe explanation?
hitchhiker's user avatar
  • 1,109
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

Man and artificially sapient dog alone on Mars. Dog starts behaving erratically

I'm trying to recall a story I read about a man alone on a Mars outpost except for the companionship of a dog that had already either been modified post-birth or natally bioengineered to have human-...
Jacob C.'s user avatar
  • 4,436
24 votes
6 answers
2k views

Who first used spacefaring sapient felines in science fiction?

I've been getting into Wing Commander again lately and reading Niven's Known Universe, and Andre Norton is a life long favourite. All of these have something in common, they all have an intelligent, ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 6,536
24 votes
0 answers
356 views

Aliens try to liberate "enslaved" dogs from humans

I saw this story in an anthology in a used bookstore in 2009. When the aliens came, we negotiated a peace treaty with them. Everything was going fine until they said "oh, and you'll have to stop ...
user3969's user avatar
  • 341
23 votes
4 answers
8k views

What "Earth-Origin" animals exist in the canon Star Wars universe?

When I was a young teen, I really got into reading the few Star Wars novels that existed at that time. After I exhausted the then current run of books (there were only about 5 or 6 of them), I ...
RLH's user avatar
  • 3,329
22 votes
2 answers
5k views

What information do we have about Spock's childhood pet?

In an episode of Star Trek TOS, Spock mentioned a childhood pet. I think it was Dr. McCoy who teased him about his having a kitty-cat. The animal Spock described was definitely not a kitty-cat -- it ...
user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
8k views

What use are the wizard familiars?

It seems like every student at Hogwarts has a familiar (a companion animal) – Neville's frog, Harry's owl, Ron's rat, Hermione's half-cat-half-Kneazle, etc... Harry's owl is at least marginally ...
DVK-on-Ahch-To's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
5k views

Who "seeded" Arrakis' flora and fauna? And with what?

I'm currently about halfway through Dune and I'm curious about the speculative ecology therein. I'm going to disregard the Sandworms/Sandtrout because (a) they're stated to not be native to Arrakis ...
planetologist kynes's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is there room for vegans in the Harry Potter universe?

Boomslang skin, leeches, bicorn horn... it seems that to make any decent potion, you're going to need to use some kind of animal product. Could a vegan or vegetarian get through Hogwarts, and ...
Ben Regenspan's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why don't Thor's goats appear in the MCU?

If I remember correctly, Thor in Nordic mythology has his hammer and his two flying goats, which can recreate themselves from just a single bone. Why doesn't he have the goats in the Marvel movies? Is ...
Humbalomba's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Are humpback whales granted civil rights?

The events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home establish that humpback whales are sentient beings with their own language, and that this language is at least in theory learnable by non-whales (e.g. the ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
20 votes
6 answers
7k views

Are the Redwall creatures their natural real-world size?

One thing that always confused me about the books was the question of scale. You have everything from shrews to badgers living together, working together, fighting together. Are these animals the same ...
Travis Christian's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
859 views

Short story about a woman who is about to leave on an interstellar trip to search for non-human intelligence

I read this short story years -- decades -- ago. A young woman is spending her last day at home before joining an interstellar expedition to search for non-human intelligence. She lives on a sheep ...
user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
3k views

Scientist who talks to ants and is killed by wasps (or hornets)

I read this short fiction (novelette or novella) about 10-15 years ago, but it could be much older. I believe I read it in French, but I am not sure. Also not sure whether in a collection or in a ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

Looking for a Sci Fi/urban fantasy short story about a cat who fights demons

I'm looking for a short story I read a couple of years back. It was told from the point of view of an old cat, who has spent his life fighting demons[?] that try to come through weak places in reality....
Fiddlesticks's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
5k views

Whatever happened to Superman's super powered moa?

There once was a super powered moa, and comic book Superman did battle with it and managed to capture it unharmed just near the end of the issue. What did Superman do with the beast?
Major Stackings's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
703 views

Old-ish fantasy novel about magicians that have a characteristic animal form?

Sometime in the '80s, I was at the house of a friend of my parents who had a huge library of SF/F paperbacks. Like the kid in the candy store, I grabbed one off the shelf and was rooted to the spot ...
Dan Percival's user avatar
16 votes
4 answers
2k views

How did they expect to repopulate the world with Humpbacks after 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home'?

The Humpback whales, George and Gracie, were brought back to the future in order to save earth and repopulate the species. How was this accomplished? While Humpback whales have a life expectancy of ...
Morgan's user avatar
  • 26.6k
16 votes
0 answers
1k views

Short story where humanity transcends to a higher plane of existence and dogs become the dominant intelligent species on Earth

I'm looking for a short story I saw on Reddit once, but apparently didn't save or bookmark. It's about how, in the far future, humanity finally achieves some technological singularity and "transcends" ...
dolphins3's user avatar
  • 161
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Post-human Earth with intelligent animals. In one scene, bear rubs against crystal pylon to leech energy from structure holding stored human minds

Another question reminded me of two similar stories that I can't place regarding intelligent animals. In the one I'm asking about in this question, there are various species of sapient animals in a ...
Jacob C.'s user avatar
  • 4,436
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

The human population on Earth reached its maximum with the end of the last zoo

I read this short story at least 30 years ago. I suppose it was in a collection, since I rarely read magazines. I don't remember if I read it in English or in French, but it might have been a ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
14 votes
1 answer
681 views

A book in which every species on earth was rendered intelligent

The 'blurb' on the back of the book was that something had boosted the intelligence of every creature on earth, to the point that at least some animals were on par with humans. I'm not sure if humans ...
JustJeff's user avatar
  • 2,467
14 votes
1 answer
4k views

How do Banthas survive on Tatooine?

As far as I can tell from their appearance, they're pretty much like woolly mammoths: Long shaggy fur, slow moving and high fat content. This type of biology would be better suited to planets like ...
The Unknown Dev's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are there any animals in the Star Wars universe that are the same as those on Earth? [duplicate]

In this answer to Are the humans in the Star Wars Galaxy really humans? , it is established that Star Wars humans are not related to us at all, though they are anatomically identical And we ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

Do the other animals that students can bring with them to Hogwarts have special skills?

Owls in Harry Potter carry the mail. Do rats, cats, or toads have any specific function aside from being pets?
gef05's user avatar
  • 1,190
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the name of this horror/science fiction story involving orcas/killer whales?

I'm looking for a horror/science fiction story involving orcas/killer whales. It was written by someone who was either a marine biologist or someone who used to work with cetaceans, and in their ...
user2352714's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

How many pets do we know about on the Enterprise-D?

Obviously Data has his cat Spot and Picard has his fish. Bit of a random question, but what other pets do we know that reside on the Enterprise-D i.e. how many do we know about?
Often Right's user avatar
  • 69.3k
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can Hogwarts students have more than one familiar?

Quoting from the Hogwarts letter Harry receives in the first HP book: students may bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad. The word "may" suggests that students can also choose not to bring a pet/...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 135k
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Looking for the title of a graphic novel featuring a spaceship shaped like a bird and a gigantic earthworm [duplicate]

I am trying to identify a book that I read in the mid 1980's. Some details: It was a graphic novel, or comic. All black and white, if I remember correctly. The main character was a human, though I ...
fjordfiesta's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
7k views

What happened to Captain Picard's fish?

In Star Trek Generations the Enterprise D crash lands on a planet and is effectively destroyed. We see that Data recovers his cat, Spot, but the fish Picard kept in his ready room is not seen or ...
Xantec's user avatar
  • 62.2k
12 votes
2 answers
12k views

What horse or horses played Shadowfax?

Shadowfax is the last of an ancient breed of horses, a horse king. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, what is the name of the horse or horses that were honored to play Shadowfax?
Himarm's user avatar
  • 66.3k
12 votes
3 answers
11k views

What kind of animal is Gru's pet Kyle?

In the movies Despicable Me 1 and 2, Gru has a pet with sharp teeth and small body. His pee makes the shrub dead! The creature looks like a skunk to me but when Lucy scans him, its species is "...
Madeyedexter's user avatar
  • 3,967
12 votes
1 answer
564 views

What creature does the dinosaur-like skull on Ahch-To belong to?

Here's a screenshot. You can see it in The Last Jedi in the brief underwater shot when Rey falls into the dark side well. It's immediately preceding the famous "mirror Reys" scene; on the ...
sauron496's user avatar
  • 199
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is a Dire Wolf? [closed]

In many fantasy stories, there are creatures called Dire Wolves. What's a Dire Wolf, how is it different from existing wolves?
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can an Animagus take the form of any animal?

Similar to my old question about what animals a Patronus can be, are there any limits to the animal forms an Animagus can be? We know that the animal form can be much smaller than human (cat, rat, ...
Ward - Trying Codidact's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
8k views

What was the first appearance of a sword-wielding canine?

Pokémon sword will include a new legendary pokémon named Zacian which is a wolf-like creature holding a sword in its mouth. A lot of Dark Souls fans are saying that this is clearly a reference to the ...
Max's user avatar
  • 211
11 votes
1 answer
742 views

Story Identification: A sci-fi book about human/animal hybrids or clones

I'm trying to identify a sci-fi book I read in my youth in 1970s. Key plot points: It was a saga of the far future where humanity was blended with many different animal types, so characters were ...
Alan Bertrand's user avatar
11 votes
0 answers
273 views

Story with dome-cities and the last horse being lost in transport accident

I read some of a story in high school in Quebec, probably a bit more than 10 years ago (before 2008). I think I might have read it as part of a reading test at school. It was probably in French (might ...
Manuki's user avatar
  • 241
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were the horses in The Final Frontier an Earth breed?

Horses are a big feature in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The opening shot is Sybok on his steed: Later, horses feature prominently in the ground battle on Nimbus III. Out-of-universe, I always ...
Praxis's user avatar
  • 111k
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Book where the storyteller is a dog

The dog's owner is an alchemist. The dog talks to other animals, like the cat of a witch or the rat of a vampire, and reports about the ongoing battle to open the gates of hell, which can only be done ...
SuchenderGast's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Gandalf's other horse

Gandalf had another horse before Shadowfax. He lost it in Isengard when he escaped from Saruman. Was its name written by Tolkien anywhere?
Ginasius's user avatar
  • 8,044
10 votes
2 answers
756 views

Why did Larry Niven name his creature "Bandersnatch?"

Why did Larry Niven call his immense armless, headless, sentient Known Space creatures Bandersnatch? How does the name relate to the Lewis Carroll beast mentioned in the "Jabberwocky"?
Major Stackings's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
223 views

Professor's mind in ape's body, slowly losing human characteristics

This is a short story from the 1980s, in Amazing or F&SF I think. It's told in the first-person by a college professor (of English, I think) who finds himself in the body of an ape in the rain ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 51.7k
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Short story: Some future humans return to Earth which now lacks humans, but instead has animals that had been granted sapience by aliens years before

In the future, some humans arrive at Earth from some distant point. They find the Earth bereft of humans, but there are instead many non-human animal species that have already been uplifted to ...
Jacob C.'s user avatar
  • 4,436
10 votes
1 answer
427 views

Does nature in Westeros show dramatic adaptations to the multi-year winters?

The series portrays a world where there are occasional winters lasting several years. This world seems to be inhabited by plants and animals very similar to those on Earth: We often see mention of ...
Superbest's user avatar
  • 1,338
10 votes
0 answers
182 views

Inventor of FTL drive is granted ownership of an Earthlike planet. Native species prevents destruction of life

I am looking for a Sci Fi book I read many years ago. The synopsis is as follows: A guy discovered FTL drive or something and would share the secret under one condition. He was to be granted ...
Mike Flowers's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
180 views

Short story from Analog SFF- Miner family who grow crystals- Crystals get ruined by kittens

Looking for this for a blind friend of mine who's a bit cat-obsessed. He remembers listening to these on the national library service for the blind version of Analog some time in the 80s or 90s. I've ...
Internet-Cat's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
853 views

Which 70s/80s story/book has horses as protagonists? [duplicate]

This book is pretty unique. It's about a planet only populated with intelligent horses who have domesticated their humans, because they have hands (horses don't have them). The whole time reading you ...
GwenKillerby's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
388 views

Bad guy turns to stone because he hears a dog speak. 60s/70s 'Jackanory' story set in Australia

I probably won't be winning any plaudits for a well-described story identification question given that I am trying to find the story that I dreamed about last night. Nonetheless, I am sure it is a ...
Lostinfrance's user avatar
  • 2,398
9 votes
1 answer
210 views

Searching for a story about a Team of Explorers Trapped with Large Alien Animal

The story I'm trying to recall had the explorers stranded on the surface of some planet. I recall that there was a body of water, and a large alien creature which had a large, globular, transparent ...
Don Wakefield's user avatar