"[Science fiction] has become big business, where books are merchandised and promoted and distributed and placed on sale like slabs of bacon or cans of soup."
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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