At the beginning of the week, we asked our Facebook and Twitter friends and followers to name their favorite cuddly or not-so cuddly pets from all of science fiction and fantasy. We thought we were ready for the various scores of cosmic and mystical animals out there in the multiverse, but naturally, we there were a whole slew of creatures we didn’t expect. Click below for the highlights!
Treecats from David Weber’s Honor Harrington series
Though arguably not entirely domesticated animals, these critters are extremely popular! (We saw numerous mentions of them on Facebook and Twitter.) It’s easy to see why, because Treecats are amazing. With six limbs, opposable thumbs, elongated bodies, and physic abilities, the Treecats seem to beat normal cats any day of the week. Now all we need are LOLTreecats.
Appa from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Again, though Appa is extremely intelligent, and not necessarily “pet-like” we felt he had to be included due to his overwhelming popularity. (Especially here in the office.) What is not to love about this wonderful sky bison? He’s loyal, fierce, enormous, and totally adorable. In any case, Appa makes a strong case for the notion that the best kinds of SFF pets are more like people.
The Fire Lizards from Anne McCaffery’s Pern Series
Unlike the full-blown telepathic Dragons of Pern, the Fire Lizards are smaller, more demure versions of their fire-breathing cousins. Also known as “dragonets” the Fire Lizards were present on the planet Pern long before human colonization. Like the relationship between monkeys and humanoids, the fire lizards represent a sort of evolutionary throwback, with the specifics of how they evolved into intelligent dragons still partially shrouded in mystery.
Daemons from Philip Pullmans’ His Dark Materials series
This animal companion isn’t even an animal at all. While the daemons from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy always take animal form, they are in truth an aspect of the personality of their “owner.” There are deep taboos against touching another’s daemon, as while they commonly represent a physical advantage in comparison with humans they are nonetheless treated as a vulnerability during conflict. And love? Well, relationships between the daemons of two lovers gets... complicated. In terms of their literary origins, Pullman found inspiration in certain classical paintings like Da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” (pictured right).
Salacious Crumb from Return of the Jedi
According to official Star Wars sources, Salacious Crumb is a Kowakian monkey-lizard who long-evaded Mandalorian rat catchers before coming to live with Jabba the Hut. Once on Tatooine he became the court jester at Jabba’s Palace, which means he basically just sits there and laughs like a lunatic. Even if he’s partially intelligent, we’re sure Jabba thinks of him as a pet.
The Luggage from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series
Another entry in the category of incredibly useful SFF pets comes The Luggage, which is quite simply, a trunk with legs. Like a TARDIS, the luggage can apparently hold many dimensions within it, and will even swallow people into said dimensions of they threaten its master. Like all good pets, The Luggage is immensely loyal, though simultaneously feared by many. It was also briefly worshiped as a God.
K-9 from Doctor Who
Whether it’s K-9 Mark I, II, III, or IV, there’s no question that he is the most loyal tin dog in the universe. His reassuringly upbeat “affirmative!” coupled with his laser-beam and sometimes ability to levitate make him a very good dog, but also extremely useful, too. Who cares if he doesn’t play fetch. Do you know any real dogs that can remember the basecode for the TARDIS? Didn’t think so.
Fizzgig from Dark Crystal
Fizzgig comes off like a Tribble with teeth, although far more loyal, and talkative. (We’re pretty sure he’s not born pregnant, either.)
There were lots more suggestions for SFF pets. In no particular order, here are the honorable mentions:
- The talking cat from The Last Unicorn
- Muffit from classic Battlestar Galactica
- Cringer/Battlecat from He-Man
- Oy from The Dark Tower series
- Ein from Cowboy Bebop
- Lummox from The Star Beast
- The Maze-Running Mice from Redemption Ark
- Keesha from the Gandalara Cycle
- 1812 from Farscape
- Bill the Pony from Lord of the Rings
Thanks to all our Twitter and Facebook followes who chimed in! What’d we miss? (Besides Bela from the Wheel of Time. Although it seems wise to not consider a horse/Creator as sneaky as Bela as a “pet.”)
Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com and tends to be a voice for semi-official business and general randomness from the staff.