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Nick's picture

To the Dogs

By Nick in Teleport Us

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Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.


With aging cured, the right to reproduce is granted only to those who can prove their worth as responsible caregivers. As social media documents a nightmare unfolding just outside their door, two prospective parents are tested to their breaking point.


Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce March 3, 2013 - 1:34pm

Hi Nick,

I really liked your story. I liked your themes about income and reproductive rights, and not in a narcsisstic way at all, I thought your exposition was a lot more skilled than mine was around this theme! I also thought the process that couples had to go through to get their license to reproduce was fascinating -- it reminded me very much of the process they put you through in Australia when you want to adopt. It seems so draconian that complete idiots can have a baby naturally, yet people who are desperate to give a child a better life are put through such administrative obstacles. And I loved the idea of dogs that can actually tell you what they're thinking, I can't count how many times I've wanted to know what my dogs wanted to think (like the time one of my dogs got bitten by a red belly black snake back in Australia, but I didn't realise at the time and wondered why he was being so well behaved on a walk!). Using a dog as the non-human company was a really clever difference, too. Most stories (mine included) relied on old non-human sci-fi tropes, so this idea was really cool.

My only real suggestion for editing this story is to rework the first 4-5 pages. I found them a lot denser description wise and exposition wise than the rest of your story, and this made it feel like a much heavier read than the rest of the piece. 

Thanks for sharing your story!



Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 3, 2013 - 6:41pm

Many thanks, Jess.

I share the same sentiment about the first third or so being a bit heavy on exposition, which was definitely the most difficult thing to manage in writing this story... so much is required, but how to integrate it seamlessly, etc. After weeks of endless/pointless note-taking, I decided to just sort of plough through, and "tell" the story as best I could.

If anyone reading takes notice of anything that seems unnecessary, please make note of it and let me know.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Ira Levin March 7, 2013 - 7:49am


I really enjoyed the dystopia you created here, the idea of qualifying to have a child via five years of forms and a dog. The handheld device and the oppression of the ministry, plus the level of hierarchy with dogs lives seen as a greater value than people ~ awesome :)

My only little complaints are

~ the very beginning is a little heavy compared to the tone the story actually settles into, although I can't think of a good suggestion to fix this, unless maybe you just try and blend this information in more gradually to the rest of the story ~ although I'm not sure if this will work.

~The end, I kind of felt there was more to come, it built me up but then left me with a huge question mark. It left me wondered if you were planning to expand this more?

Anyway, thanks for sharing.


Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 7, 2013 - 6:39pm

Thanks, em.

Points well taken. I felt the beginning was a bit heavy, and the end feels a bit clipped. I'm considering a rewrite focusing on these things.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 13, 2013 - 6:35am


I loved this story! In the very beginning i had to adjust to your style, but a page in the story flowed like butter and I was totally hooked by this scenario! I wished for an ending. Didn 't get one. Bummer!  Well, thumbs up for you anyway, this was a great read. 

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 13, 2013 - 6:53pm

Thanks! I'll admit the ending is a bit less than what I wanted, but word count became a huge issue for me. Glad you enjoyed it.

Wendy Hammer's picture
Wendy Hammer from Indiana is reading One Night in Sixes March 16, 2013 - 1:48pm

Good story--interesting ideas, believable dystopia, solid technology. I liked it quite a bit.  I do think that the diction of the beginning gets in the way of the story a little.  It felt as if you were trying to capture a kind of detached, formal, bureaucratic tone with the report style narration.  That was nailed, but if you could scale it back just a hair I think it would be more accessible. 

Despite that minor bump, I was drawn in. I was interested, excited, invested....and then that ending let me down. I don't mind some ambiguity, but this one was so abrupt that I tried to scroll down to find the rest. Word count was the culprit, I bet. I give this a thumbs up, but I hope you decide to rework this and that I come across it someday. 


Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 16, 2013 - 4:17pm

Good feedback, much appreciated. Thanks for the thumbs up.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 27, 2013 - 1:35am

This has a fantastic middle, slightly let down by the beginning and end. Once you are through the heavy first three or so paragraphs, this is a joy to read. I really felt for the characters, and the dystopia you create is a very good one. It really is one of the stronger stories I've read in that middle section. It could do with another edit or so - there are some very long sentences that are a little clunky. Cutting down on paragraph length would make this flow a little quicker as well. The start needs to be smoother - that first paragraph is poetic but adds little to the story. The dog murderer angle needs to be a little clearer at the start as well, or introduce it after we've met the family. I was willing this to finish strongly, but it looks like you ran out of space. With a few careful cuts from the beginning, you'd have enough to finish this really well. As it is, it just stops. This is a very good story, but with a better start and finish this could be great.

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 27, 2013 - 6:46pm

Thanks, Adam.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 30, 2013 - 12:24pm

An amazing beginning and middle, but it needed another thousand words or more for an ending. That 4k limit is killer! I blazed through this one much faster than I expected to. Excellent work!

mikedavis469's picture
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