There are a lot of obstacles in the way of our understanding animal intelligence - not the least being that we can't even agree whether nonhuman species are conscious. We accept that chimps and dolphins experience awareness; we like to think dogs and cats do. But what about mice and newts? What about a fly? Is anything going on there at all?
Science Fiction properly conceived, like all serious fiction, however funny, is a way of trying to describe what is going on, what people actually do and feel, how people relate to everything else in this vast sack, this belly of the universe, this womb of things to be and tomb of things that were, this unending story. In it, as in all fiction, there is room enough to keep even Man where he belongs, in his place in the scheme of things, there is time enough to gather plenty of wild oats and sow them, too, and sing to little Oom, and listen to Ool's joke, and watch newts, and still the story isn't over. Still there are seeds to be gathered and room in the bag of stars.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Nick and the Candlestick I am a miner. The light burns blue. Waxy stalactites Drip and thicken, tears The earthen womb Exudes from its dead boredom. Black bat airs Wrap me, raggy shawls, Cold homicides. They weld to me like plums. Old cave of calcium Icicles, old echoer. Even the newts are white, Those holy Joes. And the fish, the fish - Christ! they are panes of ice, A vice of knives, A piranha Religion, drinking Its first communion out of my live toes. The candle Gulps and recovers its small altitude, Its yellows hearten. O love, how did you get here? O embryo Remembering, even in sleep, Your crossed position. The blood blooms clean In you, ruby. The pain You wake to is not yours. Love, love, I have hung our cave with roses, With soft rugs - The last of Victoriana. Let the stars Plummet to their dark address, Let the mercuric Atoms that cripple drip Into the terrible well, You are the one Solid the spaces lean on, envious. You are the baby in the barn.