"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
The canine analogy is useful in several ways in the narrative: it subtly emphasizes the keen sensitivity to odors possessed by the device, and it seems quite natural chasing a car...
The slamhound reminds one of the mechanical hound of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Compare also the OSMO (Osmic Mobile Observers) from Quantico (2007) by Greg Bear. Also, the sheem spider robot from The Witches of Karres (1966) by James Schmitz.
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