The Dogs is a series of novels, joined by a pair of short story collections, by Christopher Veidt. The first novel was begun in April of 2012 as an experiment in transformation fetish stuff for a Furry audience that eventually mushroomed into a full-fledged novel when the original notes for the story were codified and revised in August of 2013.
Broadly speaking, the novels and short stories, which make up a wide, interconnected world of its own, comprise an effort by the author to revive a more old-fashioned, regionalist approach to literature, as well as to bring a more refined and literary veneer to Erotic Literature and, more specifically, Transformation Fiction.
Many of the stories are, as a result, highly NSFW, and possess a potent sense of tragedy and dread. Using real-world folklore and local history, the stories usually bring in the geographic location where they are set as a central engine of the characters' actions and personalities. More often than not, it posits that the abrupt and traumatic abandonment of how life used to be causes people to lose touch with their true selves...which can come back to haunt them in unsettling and shocking ways. The whole thing is deeply steeped in the lore, traditions, and culture of Appalachia, West Virginia in particular.
While almost exclusively featuring homosexual content, Veidt insists it is not Furry, nor LGBT, nor mpreg fiction. That being said, it's sort of hard to pin down what category these stories would fall under.
For a time in 2014-15 the novels and their successive spin-off stories were rather popular on SoFurry, where Veidt made his creative home. Following the completion of the first book, Not Exactly Night, in July of 2014, and the second, Litany in March of 2015, Veidt slowly but surely gained a dedicated following in the TF (transformation) community, usually through stories that had explicitly spooky or horror themes. However, in 2016 Veidt shifted gears and moved away from horror-based literature and more into Urban Fantasy, specifically Myth Punk-like stories featuring regional cryptids. As his output became more and more transgressive, his followers evaporated, and by 2017 he had lost complete interest in keeping a public profile — he convinced himself that nobody cared about his work and, worse, that the website he was posting them to was going to steal his copyright. This led him to take all of his work down everywhere, and indeed, references to it were quite scarce except for this very website.
This page covers the main novels of the series, which are:
- Not Exactly Night, which introduces the main trio of characters — Bligh Lynch, Andrew Lightfoot, and Cody Tyree, and how they came together.
- Litany, which focuses more on Andrew's brother Stephen, and the burgeoning mystery of something strange and terrible that happened long ago.
- Hand In Heart, currently in production, brings the action of the last two months to a head, but ends with more questions than answers, with room for a fourth or even fifth book.
The novels are joined by two short story collections, which are:
- Before Time After, a volume of prequel stories from different characters which narrates how the events, characters, and people of the main novels eventually coalesce as told and seen by several people over the course of almost three centuries.
- What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse, which takes place in the same universe as ''The Dogs'', but codifies most of Veidt's work wherein the main cast either doesn't appear or only has a cameo.
Has a character sheet, under construction.
The Dogs novels contains examples of:
- Accents Aren't Hereditary: This actually comes up a lot as a form of Character Development:
- Andrew and Stephen both sound like they are from southeastern West Virginia in their youth, and Andrew up until he moved to Florida when he deliberately changed the way he spoke to fit in, which provides a dramatic Accent Slip Up moment in the first novel.
- By the second novel, both Andrew and Stephen's accent soften to become something like their mother's — broadly Appalachian without being as shrill as Bligh's is, something like (for instance) Dolly Parton.
- Bligh, on the other hand, keeps his accent, and this never changes.
- Appalachia: Flashbacks take us here when Andrew remembers his life growing up with Stephen and Bligh. Special care is used to describe the mountains and gorgeous hilly scenery.
- Artistic License Biology: Comes with the territory, and somewhat lampshaded by Andrew, a Biology major, who struggles mightily with what transpires in front of his very eyes because he refuses to believe science can't explain it.
Stephen: "What the fuck kinda Bio major are you? The fuck is he, some kinda seahorse?"
- Andrew's brother doubly lampshades both this and Cody's pregnancy when they are first revealed to him in Litany:
- Brand Names Are Better: Something all the Lightfoot family has in common — even Andrew, who spurns his rich upbringing — is the insistence on buying name-brand stuff.
- Canine Companion: Although both deceased well before the start of the events of the novel, this was Duke for Bligh, and Walker, the Beagle, for Stephen.
- Cast Full of Gay: Kind of the point.
- Chromosome Casting: Intentional for the first novel, as the action of the plot didn't really allow for anyone outside of the main three main characters (and Stephen during the final act), who were all male. Female characters are mentioned, but not introduced.
- Stephen and Andrew's mother is briefly seen and heard in a flashback.
- In the second novel we have Gabby, Cody's boss. See Monochrome Casting, below.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Andrew when he gets frustrated, and Stephen almost every sentence.
- Deconstruction: Of the many common ideas and themes that tend to show up in erotic transformation stories and mpreg fics. Instead of being a sexy fantasy, the idea of transformation into a half-human creature and getting pregnant as a male is treated with brutal realism.
- Cute Little Fangs: The only trait of the half-dog that can't be hidden. Although the teeth are described as sharp (as a dog's would), it's apparently not something people notice at first.
- Exotic Equipment: Not particularly exotic as it is canine, but yes.
- Fiction 500: Stephen and Andrew's family, the Lightfoots, is enormously wealthy and extremely old, tracing their roots back to when Jamestown was first settled in 1607. The disproportionate amount of money the family has amassed in a poverty-stricken area eventually disgusts and disillusions Andrew. Stephen, on the other hands, milks it for all its worth.
- Food Porn: The dinner that Andrew's mother prepares for her family with Bligh and his grandfather as guests in a flashback. The main course is duck — endangered duck.
- Freudian Trio: Bligh, Cody, and Andrew for the first novel. Although unintentional, they end up representing, respectively, the Freudian concepts of the id, ego, and superego.
- Funetik Aksent: How Bligh's dialogue is written, in addition to Andrew's and Stephen's in flashbacks, attempting to replicate the Greenbrier Valley dialect.
- Hated Hometown: Tempest, West Virginia, the hometown of Andrew, Bligh, and Stephen.
- Healing Factor: It's only barely hinted how, but Stephen is pretty much immune to every injury and sickness.
- Little Bit Beastly: What happens when humans (like Bligh) turn into half-dogs. Although apparently human while wearing a hat and pants, half-dogs have external traits of being completely furry and canine below the waist complete with tail, have pointed furry dog's ears, and sharpened canine teeth, as mentioned.
- Metamorphosis: A central theme of the novels, both physical and emotional.
- Manly Gay: All of the characters identified as gay, no matter how much homosexual sex they have, are pretty much indistinguishable as gay men.
- Monochrome Casting: For the first novel, but justified in that three of the four main cast are from West Virginia, a state where at least a few counties have, at least according to census records, no people of colour at all.
- In the second novel, Cody's motherly Puerto Rican boss, Gabby, is introduced, and plays a small but vital role in the early part of the book. Her presence lessens this trope (somewhat) due to how how small the cast remains.
- Mountain Man: Pappy definitely qualifies, with Bligh following in his footsteps. And, in a strange example, Andrew's ancestor, Nicky Lightfoot — unwillingly.
- No Communities Were Harmed: According to the author himself, Tempest, West Virginia, is roughly based on several small towns in Greenbrier County, namely Rupert, Rainelle, and Quinwood. Adkins County, where Tempest is supposedly located, is more or less the southern part of the real life Greenbrier County.
- Subverted with where Andrew and Cody live: several clues are dropped that it's the Tampa suburb of Rocky Creek.
- The Nose Knows: One of the attributes that Dogfolk possess is a superior olfactory scent to that of humans. The distinctive wood-like musk that males of the species give off has a pleasant, calming, and arousing effect on each other.
- Only in Florida: The main action of the first novel takes place in Tampa; the dramatic confrontation that sets in motion the rest of the plot between Andrew and Bligh occurs on a Tampa Bay beach. Additionally, Cody was born near Plant City (on a strawberry farm — Plant City is famous on the East Coast for this crop), and was living homeless in an actual bad part of Tampa, Nebraska Avenue, before they met. Andrew goes to the University of South Florida.
- Painful Transformation: It's actually described to be pretty traumatic and highly taxing to the body, particularly the final stage, where the heart morphs into a canine's, which is felt in the form of something akin to an agonizing heart attack.
- Pretty Boy: Cody, and to a different extent Stephen.
- Real Men Cook: All three of the main trio are decent cooks, with different specialties between them.
- Reference Overdosed: A plethora of (mostly passing) literary and pop cultural references which populate the novels, as disparate as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to The Picture of Dorian Gray. There are also a large amount of references to the culture and geography of both West Virginia and Florida, see "Shown Their Work" below.
- Retro Universe: Played with. Despite nominally being an exact parallel to our own, people buy clothing from antiquated (and long-defunct) department stores like Burdines and Hecht's, which are assumed to be still flourishing in this alternate 2013.
- Second Episode Morning: Played for Drama in the first novel.
- Scenery Porn: Both West Virginia and Florida, when introducing new locations, are given this treatment.
- Signature Scent: One of the ways Dogfolk know each other is by a rather complex, cologne-like smell. For instance, Bligh is said to smell something like petrichor and rotting agarwood.
- Straight Gay: All three characters, but Bligh especially. Stephen is less this than he is Chaotic Stupid; his bisexuality is par for the course.
- The Power of Love: A recurring theme.
- Suddenly Sexuality: All his life, because Bligh never said anything to the contrary, Andrew was in love with him but assumed he was straight, so when Bligh pulls him into a Forced Kiss, it comes a completely genuine shock.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Andrew, when he makes the final decision to transform into a half-dog with Cody and Bligh.
- Totally Not a Werewolf: Despite nicknamed ''Wolfman'' in high school because he was so hirsute even at that age, and being a committed werewolf fan himself, Bligh rejects the label, referring to himself as a "dog." The others acquiesce to the idea.
- Transformation Horror: A salient feature of all of Veidt's work...
- Uneven Hybrid: After transforming, the new half-dog is permanently this. Despite the term used, these creatures are actually little over 60% canine, both externally and internally.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: The large amounts of references, gone over above, coupled with deliberately dream-like nature imagery and sometimes long, complicated sentences and vocabulary mean that this becomes a common complaint for some readers.
- With a Friend and a Stranger: Andrew spent his entire childhood and teenage years with Bligh, and has been dating Cody for a year. Bligh and Cody, as a result, do not know each other well at all but that changes completely the first night Bligh is there.
- You Are Worth Hell: More or less invoked when Andrew says "I told you - dog or not, if I can be with you I don't care what I look like or - or - if I ain't even human."
- You Sexy Beast: Invoked by Andrew when he says to Bligh, and in reference to his dog-like nature even before his transformation, that "I've always been in love with a beast." Earlier, Cody is easily seduced and willingly gives himself over to Bligh's advances as chronicled in "The Beast That Shouted 'Fuck' At the Heart of the World," which takes major cues from the dynamic in Little Red Riding Hood.