Dogpatch Press

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ROAR Vol. 8, Paradise, Edited by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

ROAR volume 8, Paradise, edited by Mary E. Lowd.
Dallas, TX, Bad Dog Books, June 2017, trade paperback $19.95 (284 pages), Kindle $9.95.

ROAR volume 8, Bad Dog Books’ annual anthology of non-erotic furry adventure short fiction, is the third edited by Mary E. Lowd. It follows last year’s vol. 7 devoted to Legends, and continues the reductions in page count (394 pages two years ago, 377 pages last year, and 284 pages this year) to return the volumes to the earlier size edited by Buck C. Turner. This year’s theme is Paradise; “eighteen different visions of paradise”. Lowd says in her Foreword that, “This volume of ROAR received fewer submissions than the last two, but the average quality of those submissions was extremely high.”

It certainly is. Get ready for a long review.

The protagonist of “Northern Delights” by Madison Keller is Rafael Ferreira, a Chihuahua detective from the Phoenix, Arizona police department who goes to the start of the Idatarod sled race in Anchorage, Alaska to warn a Chow informant participating in the race of a plot to kill him. He involuntarily takes part in the race as the partner of Mae, a husky.

“Other than the crunching of snow under Mae’s paws and the shushing of the surrounding pine trees in the wind the night was silent. He’d grown up in the big city, and night to him meant the pounding thunder of a gunning motorcycle, the conversing of passing dogs, and the rumbling base leaking from a passing car.

Even the sky was unfamiliar. When Rafael craned his head back, he could see hundreds of stars twinkling brightly overhead. The sight awed and humbled him. When he was a puppy, his father had taken him up to the mountains to star gaze, but even there the lights of the city had hidden all but the brightest stars. He began to pick out constellations he’d learned about in grade school. There was Orion, te Hunter. Usually depicted in mythological art as an English Setter. Mae turned a corner and his view shifted, revealing Leo, the roaring lion. Rafael bared his teeth menacingly at the sky.” (p. 23)

Rafael discovers that Alaska is his paradise – especially if Mae is there.

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Planet of the Apes: Tales From the Forbidden Zone, Edited by Rich Handley and Jim Beard – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Planet of the Apes: Tales From the Forbidden Zone, edited by Rich Handley and Jim Beard.
London, Titan Books, January 2017, paperback, $14.95 (421 pages), Kindle $9.99.

“The 1968 Planet of the Apes film has inspired generations of authors. Now a who’s who of modern writers produces sixteen all-new tales, exclusive to this volume, set in the world of the original films and television series.” (blurb)

Plus an Introduction by co-editor Rich Handley and an Afterword by co-editor Jim Beard. Handley explains that, while there have been Planet of the Apes movies, TV series, script novelizations, original novels, comic books, and so on, there have not been any Apes short stories before. Hence this book.

Seventeen authors (one story is a collaboration), most of whom are veteran s-f novelists or comic-book writers who have written some form of Apes fiction before, were invited to contribute a story to this anthology. All have had the creative freedom to explore their own ideas, without any editorial attempt to make the stories consistent. Since the first five Apes films established the concept that time travel is “a highway with infinite lanes leading from the past to the future” (p. 12), all stories are equally valid.

“Unfired” by Dan Abnett is set in the nuclear wasteland in Beneath the Planet of the Apes. A group of seven mutated, telepathic humans is making a pilgrimage through the Forbidden Zone to the subterranean city:

“They spent two weeks following the track through the craterland. By night, wild dogs barked in the distance, and Taul kept his rifle close. They skirted the rims of wide craters in the heat. The sun made the air buzz and click. Chemical lakes had formed in the basins of the craters, some vivid turquoise or blood-red. The wind stank of sulfur. Occasionally, they could see shapes down in the lakes: rusted, twisted, blackened masses half submerged, buckled metal leering at the sky, vague in the mists that lay across the toxic pools.” (p. 20)

Four turn back, or die, or are killed by the Third Race (the apes), one by one. The survivors’ goal is the the city under New York; the holy city of God — the doomsday bomb.

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How furry conventions fail (or please) their vendors – Critical discussion.

by Patch O'Furr

Crazdude looks like one of those multi-talented artists that are one of the secret weapons of furry subculture – bright and devoted people with a buffet of skills like making art, writing, or performing all at once.  For the blog she started in 2016, I got a professional impression from a first glance. (I look out for blogs that seem to vibe with Dogpatch, so I liked finding this.)

The Crazblog bears out a good impression by sharing her selection as Guest of Honor at Fur-Xoticon. It lets you in on a personal detail:“As just a first-year newbie to the Artist Alley and Dealer’s Den experience at furry conventions, this came as quite an exciting surprise!”  Highlighting the newbie disclosure and small/local con size isn’t too critical, if you take it for granted that Furry is full of DIY power – it’s just good to keep in mind while reading the below post with an open mind. It mentions 3 years of experience at other cons.

Crazdude’s post – “Top 5 ways conventions let their vendors down (+ Cons doing things that artists love!)” – led me to a point/counterpoint peer discussion that I wanted to share in response. I considered breaking down salient points for a formal article, but I liked the natural flow of a casual chat here. The chat is between me (plus a few stray watcher comments) and ScalieStaffer (name redacted to keep opinions apart from their position). They’re a fur with 8 years of con staffing experience in multiple departments, with roles both minor and major.

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Florida furry dead, police hunt serial killer.

by Patch O'Furr

Anthony, AKA James Firefox, was age 20. As a furry fan, he shared fandom creativity through music.  As a person, media reports say he was autistic, but reaching for independence. Public buses in his neighborhood in Tampa, Florida took him to his job where he was packaging hurricane relief supplies.  A light glance at his online profiles shows that he expressed frustration about social difficulties, but seemed to find a lot of happiness with music, cartoons and furry art.  Sometimes it was edgy but other parts showed self awareness like criticizing memes about the las vegas shooting out of sensitivity for others.

On October 19, he got on an unfamiliar bus line when his usual one was shut down. He ended up in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time and became an unlucky statistic. He was the third victim of a series of shootings in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood that appear to be done by a serial killer.

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Q&A with Kazul of Kazplay, first place winner for cosplay at Blizzcon.

by Patch O'Furr

Kazul G. Fox on Twitter – on WikifurOther social media links

Congrats on the win, Kazul! Who is Hogger, and how did the concept happen?

Hogger is an NPC from the World of Warcraft. He is the first elite mob that human characters encounter in Southern Elwynn Forest. Hogger has the reputation for being particularly dangerous and deadly because new players aren’t expecting him to be so strong. I chose this character because the unique body shape offered a good challenge, it was my goal to make this a very animated, highly mobile costume so that I could put on a good performance. I documented my process using #WantedHogger so people could catch up and see my progress quickly, anyone who stumbled upon one WIP, could quickly get caught up on the story of what was going on. I also have a few youtube videos that go into depth about the whole concept, design and build. I have plenty more footage and more parts to cover, more videos will be coming very soon.

Youtube channel: Kazplay Videos

I started building in April 2017, through some life challenges and an across the state move I was able to finish and attend Blizzcon 2017 and take first place in the costume contest.

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10th Kingdom Interview at FurryFandom.es

by Summercat

The 10th Kingdom was a 10-hour miniseries from 2000 about a young woman and her father who were transported from New York City into the magical fairytale lands of the 9 Kingdoms. The 10th Kingdom was well received and won an Emmy when it was released. It has an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mike Retriever, admin of Spanish (and international) furry news site furryfandom.es, has an interview up with actor Scott Cohen, who played the character of Wolf in The 10th Kingdom. Mike’s article is worth checking out:

This miniseries is simply phenomenal. Award-winning screenplay writer Simon Moore, who also wrote Gulliver’s Travels (1996) and co-wrote Traffic (2000), wondered what may have happened after the ‘Happily Ever After’ of old fairytales, and his vision became the screenplay to this miniseries. But it isn’t just greatly written. It’s also endearing, funny, entertaining for both kids and adults, and, it’s immensely furry!

It comes with a plea to sign the change.org petition asking for a sequel to the show that has 3300 signatures at time of posting. From Change.org:

The 10th Kingdom has a thriving fan base that continues to grow steadily attracting new viewers. This is evident by the increasing sales, including the 15th Year Anniversary Edition, which is currently ranked among Amazon’s top Best Sellers of Fantasy Blu-rays.

The Star Justice Series, by Michael-Scott Earle – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Star Justice series

Eye of the Tiger: A Paranormal Space Opera Adventure, by Michael-Scott Earle
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, April 2017, trade paperback, $15.99 (439 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Space Witch: A Paranormal Space Opera Adventure, by Michael-Scott Earle
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, May 2017, trade paperback, $15.99 (424 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Zeta Hack: A Paranormal Space Opera Adventure, by Michael-Scott Earle
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, June 2017, trade paperback, $16.99 (605 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Binary Pair: A Paranormal Space Opera Adventure, by Michael-Scott Earle
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, July 2017, trade paperback, $16.99 (568 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Burning Bright: A Paranormal Space Opera Adventure, by Michael-Scott Earle
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2017, trade paperback, $16.99 (519 pages), Kindle $4.99.

These books should be readable quickly. The pages are in LARGE type. At an estimate, they contain only half or less of the wordage of most books; so I would guess that the 439 pages of Eye of the Tiger would be only about 220 pages in most books.

The five Star Justice novels are space opera s-f, not anthro animal fiction, but the main protagonist is a bioengineered seven-foot-tall were-tiger super-warrior. Amazon’s blurb is, “Star Justice is less military space opera and more of a ‘band of misfits in space’. Think Serenity, Farscape, Guardians of the Galaxy, Mass Effect, Cowboy Bebop, and Outlaw Star. If you liked those stories, you’ll love Star Justice.” That’s an American futuristic movie and a TV series, a Marvel superhero comic book (and the movies based on it), a video game, and two Japanese anime TV series. Guardians of the Galaxy and Outlaw Star have anthro animal characters among their “band of misfits in space”, and Cowboy Bebop has Ein, the corgi data dog. Readers certainly know what they’re getting into.

The setting is over 3,000 years in the future. Humanity has settled the galaxy. Civilization ranges from urbanized planets mostly controlled by megacorporations, to frontier worlds. The megacorporations engage in warlike rivalry with each other. Each of the five novels has a different setting – Mad Scientists’ lair, Western, urban crime – but each is in its own way a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” (Star Wars™) that the heroes have to escape.

Eye of the Tiger begins with one corporation’s airplane approaching its target. The plane carries a command staff about to launch into a mission with 31 enslaved prisoners. The prisoners are all criminals bioengineered to become tiger-men super-soldiers. One of them, “Adam”, so named because he is the first experimental super-soldier to survive the process, is the narrator. He hates his sadistic controllers.

“‘Adam, Adam, Adam,’ he [a scientist-controller] sighed. ‘Oh sorry, I mean Subject Two. This is your thirty-first sortie. I just can’t seem to kill you. Whatever shall I do? Oh, I know. You have point. Shotgun, pistol, knife, and how about a smoke grenade? That should do you fine.’” (Eye of the Tiger, pgs. 9-10)

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Iris Jay Hacks The Planet With 90’s Infused Anthro-Cyberpunk In Crossed Wires

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with the devoted curation of a fan doing exactly what they love. It’s my favorite kind of writing – thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented, in magazine style long form. I suspect it may be underexposed considering the high quality, so if you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

Each and every single one of Iris Jay’s comic creations sounds like one of the greatest film that was never made, ever. The descriptions of each read like the fevered elevator pitch of some fresh-faced starry-eyed youngster who has grown up on a diet of the trashiest entertainment, 90’s nostalgia and a deep love of forgotten films. Comic worlds inhabited by gun totting robots, gangster piloted mechs and laser-firing wolves partnered with grizzled FBI agents, all armed with the perfect action movie one liners. You are kidding yourself if you didn’t want to see a hulking supernatural fluorescent rat declaring “I  couldn’t free your minds. But I can free your teeth!”

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Dubiously Canon, by Rukis – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Dubiously Canon, by Rukis
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2017, trade paperback, $19.95 (199 pages), e-book $9.95.

This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher’s advisory)

“Synopsis: Tales from Red Lantern (that may or may not have happened)

A collection of stories chronicling the lives of characters in the Red Lantern universe, and their sexy misadventures.”

This collection contains five stories that originally appeared online. Four were written by reader demand to introduce two popular characters from throughout Rukis’ Red Lantern cartoon-art universe to each other, whether or not such a meeting would be possible by the story logic of this universe. So the stories are “dubiously canon”.

The four are “Language Barrier”, “Sinful Behavior”, “By Touch”, and “Ship to Ship”. All are narrated in the first person by one of the characters, most of whom are strangers to each other. Almost no names are mentioned. For readers familiar with Rukis’ Red Lantern art pages and her other novels, the descriptions of the characters will make it obvious who they are. In “Sinful Behavior”, for example, the wolfhound is Johannes Cuthbert from Red Lantern and Heretic and the bobcat is Shivah from the Off the Beaten Path trilogy. (That’s Shivah on the ship’s cannon on Rukis’ cover.) If you’re not familiar with Rukis’ Red Lantern universe – Mataa’s rocky coast in Legacy, the colony of Serwich in The Long Road Home, and so on – the locales and the characters won’t matter. All that really matters is that two healthy individuals come together, and erotic nature takes its course. M/m and m/f. Each of the four stories has a full-page NSFW illustration.

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Felicia: The Night of the Basquot, by Chas. P. A. Melville – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Felicia: The Night of the Basquot, by Chas. P. A. Melville. Illustrated by the author.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, September 2017, trade paperback, $12.00 (257 pages), Kindle $9.99.

“‘So!’ crowed Felicia happily. And then she frowned. ‘So,’’ she repeated, more uncertainly. And then, in puzzlement, ‘So.’ Her ears flicked as she turned to stare at the rising sun. ‘So, what’s a ‘Basquot’ anyway?’” (p. 86)

Felicia cla di Burrows, the vixen renegade sorceress blackballed from the Magic Council, is thirty years old this year. She first appeared as an enigmatic background character when Melville began self-publishing The Champion of Katara comic book, #1 dated August-September 1987. Now she has her first novel.

Spiteful and egocentric, all that was really clear was that Felicia had been horribly mistreated as a child. She began studying sorcery — including forbidden black magic — to gain revenge against those who had destroyed her family. But her heart was not really in being evil, and she kept using her magic to help others while postponing her vendetta against her family’s enemies. As a flawed ‘good guy’ and a colorful, charismatic character, Felicia became the most popular of Melville’s anthro animal cast when he moved to Seattle and became active in the furry community there, and he resumed his comic-book stories for Edd Vick’s MU Press in the 1990s. Felicia’s most dramatic and complex adventure was the 184-page graphic novel Felicia: Melari’s Wish (August 1994). Later in the ’90s, she starred in three lighter stand-alone stories as a sorceress-for-hire without the dark background of her vengeance goal, written by Melville and drawn by Bill Schmickle, in MU’s anthology comic-book ZU.

Melville later brought Felicia back in a series of text novelette booklets, with illustrations every few pages, published by CaféPress. These continued the lighter stories in ZU. Felicia became a professional sorceress-for-hire/detective who got involved with finding and dispelling ancient evils, or preventing their escape to wreak havoc in Katara and its neighboring animal kingdoms of Dogonia, Bruinsland (bears), Scentas (skunks), Rodentia (mice), and others. Melville wrote five of these, from Felicia and the Dreaded Book of Un (February 2004) to Felicia and the Border Collie Patrol (January 2008). One, Felicia and the Tailcutter’s Curse (June 2004), won that year’s Ursa Major Award in the Best Short Fiction category. All five were republished as a single book, The Vixen Sorceress (CreateSpace, December 2008).

Melville began producing a Felicia webcomic, Felicia, Sorceress of Katara, in December 2007, but for the last nine years there have been almost no Felicia text adventures. Now Felicia is back in a 257-page novel.

Felicia: The Night of the Basquot is her origin story, and an introduction to her world (which might be described as Tolkien lite, with funny animals). It begins when Felicia emerges in Katara from a mysterious seven-year disappearance, crackling with magic energy and ready to join the all-powerful Magi Council (a.k.a. the Brotherhood of the Candle) as its newest and youngest sorceress. Instead, she is shocked and infuriated to learn that she has been rejected.

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