After a virus has killed all of the dogs on Earth, the Humane Society (“The Society”) has been given the power to prosecute and punish anyone who, even accidentally, harms an animal. The government has started putting walls around highways, tracking vehicles with videocameras, and banning recreational vehicles from the roads.
After a photojournalist stops to report a dead jackal on the highway, he becomes involved in The Society’s investigation. During the process he meets an elderly couple who claim to own the last Winnebago, and he visits the woman who accidentally killed his own dog, one of the last to survive, 15 years earlier. Along the way, he keeps hoping to get a candid photo that will show, through its owner’s face, one of these beloved dogs who’ve been lost.
The Last of the Winnebagos, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella after it was published in Asimov’s in 1988, is a touching story about guilt and forgiveness, the pain of the loss of a beloved animal companion, and the extraordinarily stupid things that the government sometimes does in its quest to do the right thing.
The Last of the Winnebagos is a beautifully written and often poignant story. The last scene is particularly moving. However, I had a hard time giving in to the premise that the Humane Society had such free rein, so to speak, in the U.S. government.
I listened to Dennis Boutsikaris narrate Audible Frontiers’ version which is 2 hours long. He did a great job.