What fires up our imaginations to write and draw stories for this dog blog? Everything and anything, really. Read on…

Muttplex Movies Review:

Unfortunately, Westley Piddle doesn’t have a cinema, cineplex, or multiplex…only a Muttplex. But it’s showing some great (and not so great) movies…

🐾🐾🐾🐾 = as good as it gets on the subject.  Drop everything, , sniff out, scramble to catch up and ‘read’!

🐾🐾🐾 = well-written, entertaining, or informative.  Worth putting on your reading list.

🐾🐾 = Average read, will pass the time but does not exceed expectations – even modest ones. Ultimately forgettable.

🐾 = Seriously! There are many far better movies out there on this subject. Don’t bother unless it’s a rainy afternoon with absolutely nothing better to do.


Muttwits can be ryt monsters – but this week we are looking at some real monsters [in fiction, that is]…and all of them appear in human form. These are some of my recent reads over Covid lockdown.

North American Lake Monsters – written by Nathan Ballingrud (2013)

  • Publisher : Small Beer Press (1 Aug. 2013)
  • ISBN-10 : 1618730606
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1618730602


Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud’s intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible. Sometimes these are monsters in their traditional guises, sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, or ourselves. The often working-class people in these stories are driven to extremes by love. Sometimes, they are ruined; sometimes redeemed. All are faced with the loneliest corners of themselves and strive to find an escape.(courtesy

My take: There is a monster inside us all, no doubt about it.  This small book of short stories examines the extremes of human emotion and consequence.  The stories are not necessarily violent in the ‘horror’ sense, but violence and dread floats uncomfortably just below the surface of each.  From another point of view, the reader finds themselves as an uninvited voyeur on the blue-collar working class American when extreme action is often the consequence of lack of education or lack of understanding of fellow man.  After closing the book the true horror is in reflecting what happened within each tale and ‘if’ said reader would have followed the same path.  Nathan Ballingrud is a name to be remembered.  Give it a squint but don’t expect no happy endings.

Dogs of War – written by Adrien Tchaikovsky (2018)

  • Publisher : Head of Zeus; 1st edition (1 Jun. 2018)
  • ISBN-10 : 1786693909
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1786693907


My name is Rex. I am a good dog.

Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instill fear. With Dragon, Honey and Bees, he’s part of a Multiform Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, south-eastern Mexico.  Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he’s got to kill a lot of enemies. (courtesy

My take: no, the monster is not the doggy [and that ain’t a spoiler]!  Who is the monster?  Well, don’t expect no dog-damned any more spoilers from me.  If Muttwits of Westley Piddle had been written as giant weaponized canines there would be loads of similarities; but, as we all know it’s always thems hindlegs wot cause all the real troubles.  In the case of Rex he just wants to be patted between the earflaps and will do anything – anything, from his hindlegs master to be awarded that.  Tchaikovsky is one of my fav writers of multi-genre fiction and should be on everyone’s reading list for exciting fantasy, sci-fi and thriller stories set in both the near and remote future.  And if you love dogs – coz ain’t none of yuz here wot don’t – then give this book a try.  You will be surprised how a 2.5 meter, part mechanised fur baby with Big Dog chain guns strapped to his back can win over your affekshons pretty quickly! Thrilling stuff.

And Quietly Flows the Don – written by Mikhail Sholokhov (reprint 2017)

  • ASIN : 0241284406
  • Publisher : Penguin Classics (2 Feb. 2017)
  • ISBN-10 : 9780241284407
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0241284407


One of the greatest Russian novels of the 20th century… a deeply humane, epic, utterly compelling portrait of Russia’s cataclysmic entrance into the modern age — Christopher Hart ― Sunday TimesThe finest realist novel about the Revolution ― New York Times

A work of undoubted literary distinction ― Guardian

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov (1905-1984) was born in Russia in the land of the Cossacks. During the Russian civil war he fought on the side of the revolutionaries, and in 1922 he moved to Moscow to become a journalist. In 1926, Sholokhov began writing And Quiet Flows the Don, and he published the first volume in 1928. Three more volumes followed with the last one published in 1940. In 1965 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people”. (courtesy

My take: wot monsters where yu might be asking?  The monster is war and it’s the humans wot unleash it every single time.  Mikhail Sholokhov has been on my must-read list for a very long time.  Finally I got round to it this wonderful book over the New Year and had to include it in this week’s selection – okay, I’m stretching the monster analogy, but… War is a monstrosity and Quietly Flows the Don tells the harrowing story [set within the confines of the Melekhov family in the small Cossack village of Tatarsk, on the banks of the Don]; of its awful premeditation, enactment and consequence thanks to humanity’s lust for power, for wealth, of nationality, and total disregard for life. As always, the greater monster is that dark side which can be found within all of us – however deep it lurks.

Snifz yuz next week!

One thought on “VIEWS FROM WEST PID

  1. And Quiet Flows The Don, with the sequel The Don Flows Home To The Sea, are two of the greatest books I have read in my lifetime. Rarely was I so moved by a book as when I read the first one in my teens. I also bought the very long Russian film adaptation on DVD, but it didn’t come close, sadly.
    Best wishes, Pete.


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