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Doglands, by Tim Willocks – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

51YDnSOQT-L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_Doglands, by Tim Willocks
NYC, Random House, September 2011, hardcover $16.99 (308 [+1] pages), Kindle $9.99.

This has been published by Random House Children’s Books, but packaged to look like an adult title. Most reviews (non-furry) have compared it to London’s The Call of the Wild crossed with Adams’ Watership Down. The dogs in it talk to each other, which qualifies it for reviewing here.

“Once upon a time in the Doglands, a blue greyhound gave birth to four pups in a prison camp that the dogs called Dedbone’s Hole. The blue greyhound’s name was Keeva and she named her firstborn Furgul, which in dog tongue means ‘the brave.’ Keeva loved Furgul from the moment she saw him, but as she licked his newborn body clean and gave him her milk to drink, her heart was filled with fear. Furgul had been born with a terrible secret. And she knew that when the masters discovered his secret, they would take him away.” (p. 3)

Furgul is born into a puppy farm, specifically a greyhound breeding farm whose purpose is to produce as many greyhounds for dog racing as possible:

“When the pups no longer needed Keeva’s milk, they joined the other hounds in the exercise yard and Furgul got a better look at Dedbone’s Hole. A lot of greyhounds lived here, in a compound surrounded by a high wire fence. Outside the fence he saw a junkyard and some shacks. Inside the compound the greyhounds were locked in crates – one crate each, where each hound lived all alone – which were even smaller than the whelping cage that Furgul lived in. For just one hour a day the hounds were released from the crates to feed and exercise. The masters made sure there was never enough food for all the hounds, and so the hounds had to fight one another, snarling and biting at the filthy troughs of grub to get enough to eat. The older dogs said the masters starved the dogs on purpose to make them compete, so they could find out who was weak and who was strong and who might make a good racer. They did it to teach them that it was stupid to make friends. They did it because they were bullies who thought it was fun to feel so powerful.” (pgs. 4-5)

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Fursonas and Furries: A Tail of Two Docs (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

(Continuing yesterday’s Part 1.)

Here’s the thing – most of the anger towards Fursonas is because it wasn’t the doc we expected, or to some, what they wanted.

A lot of that comes with the general history of the fandom. How media took our hobby and portrayed it as a pagan cult of sex crazed orgies, by animal-suited maniacs.  From Vanity Fair, CSI, MTV, etc portraying us as a fetish rather then a community of artists, writers, dancers, and more.  The way they just don’t get what we are about is what many members in the fandom have been fighting to overcome for years.

And it’s been more or less a success, even with the press, as the fandom evolved to what it is today.  To how we see each other, what we believe in, and just enjoying the weirdness that we are.  After newly turning that corner, perhaps Fursonas could threaten to bring back all the negative old things they been working to overcome.

But that’s not what Fursona is or ever tries to do.

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[DR]: My movie is meant to question what a “negative view” of the fandom is. While furry is definitely an accepting place, I do think that there’s a double standard in this community. People want to be accepted for themselves, but sometimes find it hard to accept things that are outside of their own comfort zone. I see this all the time in communities and I see it all the time in furry. Just look at babyfurs, and how plenty of more “normal” furries don’t want to have anything to do with them.

I love this fandom so much that I want it to be better. I think if we’re going to keep patting ourselves on the back for being so accepting, that means having to ask some difficult questions of ourselves—how much do we accept? What is the price of individual expression in the fandom? What is a “good image” and much is it worth? I still grapple with these questions all the time.

This is something I agree with. Our fandom does have a double standard. I know it because as a gay man I’ve seen how a community that views itself as open minded and accepting of all walks of life is also filled with selfish, shortsighted, rude, or even despicable people. Same with the kink community, with it’s view of itself as open minded and accepting to all walks of life, only to see some sides view other sides as inferior or even taboo.  It’s the very same with the Furry fandom. We’re a community that is open minded and accepting, and guess what I’m going to say next.  We’re also regular flawed humans.  It’s not hard to see a pattern when you’ve seen it repeated many times.

This is what Fursonas talks about, and it’s not what everyone in the fandom wants. Which is why many have seen Furries as the preferred doc, with its more positive view of the fandom over Fursonas criticisms.

But here’s the other thing, Furries wasn’t made for the fandom. Let me ask you a question: if you’ve seen Furries and are a member of the fandom, what do you learn from it?  What information does it provide that hasn’t already been discussed time and again from other members of the fandom?

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Fursonas and Furries: A Tail of Two Docs (Part 1)

by Pup Matthias

(Note from Patch: thanks to the site’s valued long time contributor, Pup Matthias. As site manager, I don’t put a leash on writing, and this came from his self-motivated effort. Therefore, I’ll add a disclaimer that Matthias is sole author, independent from my previous posts and relationships or understandings with others. I had considered doing a followup about poorly-done mainstream Fursonas coverage called “furry is not a cult,” but then decided that enough conversation was already happening.  Uncle Kage, Dominic, Eric Risher and Matthias are all friends to me and all of them are doing great things for this community. If you only get to hear part of the story, let that say the rest. – P)

1462807202946This has been an incredible year for the Furry Fandom. Zootopia crossed over a billion dollars, fur con attendance continues a healthy rate of growth, more positive news about the fandom has been coming out, and Furry Network has entered the Furry website game. And we’ve got not one, but two documentaries exploring the fandom made by people inside the fandom itself. Yet it’s the last part that has brought on some of the biggest debates in the fandom.

Since the release of the two documentaries, Fursonas and Furries, there has been a lot of praise and criticism towards both, although Fursonas has been getting the more vocal criticism of the two.  Which isn’t surprising.  Fursonas features a lot of topics that depending where you stand, can be seen as exposing an issue most would rather hide, or a sensational attack that continues the negative image of the fandom we’ve been working for years to get over.

The reason?  In the second half of Fursonas, we see director Dominic Rodriguez get pulled over by Anthrocon staff, and he was subsequently banned from Anthrocon for breaking their media policy. The rest of the doc then paints the con chair, Uncle Kage, in a negative light criticizing his practices both with media relations, how Furries should interact (or not) with the media, and the way he “censors” certain figures and topics to make the fandom more acceptable to the mainstream.

Now to make things clear, I like Fursonas. I like that it brings forward issues I believe we should discuss and come to terms with. I think some of the criticism doesn’t come so much from the film itself as that it’s a film the fandom didn’t expect. I’ll go into detail about that later, but this article is not a Fursonas defense piece.  It’s about exploring the topics and reactions that have become clouded with all the drama surrounding the two films. I love that we have two Furry docs that explore two different aspects of the fandom. I’ve even talked to both directors, who wish to express their own thoughts about everything going on. This isn’t trying to end the conversation. It’s to add more and make sure what we debate about is what needs to be debated about.

So let’s first examine the main issue, Dominic Rodriguez being banned from Anthrocon. This bit of information alone has been the deal breaker on whether people should watch the doc. It’s as if because Anthrocon saw fit to ban a film about Furries, then it can’t be worth watching in the first place. When you watch the film, you see the topic of being banned brought up, but also the main reason for them to be banned was because they didn’t agree to a Production Agreement, which would have given some form of creative control over the film to Uncle Kage.

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2015 Cóyotl Awards results – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

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The 2015 Cóyotl Awards, presented by the Furry Writers’ Guild for four categories of the Best Anthropomorphic Literature of the 2015 calendar year, were recently announced at a presentation ceremony at the Rocky Mountain Fur Con in Denver, Colorado.

The winners and runners-up are:

UnknownBest Novel
Winner

Runner-Up

Best Novella
Winner

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The Enough Already podcast made me look at furries vs. conservatives, Gamergate and Trump.

by Patch O'Furr

EnoughAlreadyBanner

On this podcast, host Fingers Malloy talks about his visit to Rocky Mountain Fur Con in Denver. It starts 20 minutes in. Thanks to Kieran for sending this.

It’s a gentle outsiders’ look.  Fingers has a pastime of making fun of politics, but furries are spared overdone mockery. (“They’re not hurting anyone”, he says).  He mentions past negativity and compares it to picking low-hanging fruit.

Enough Already is for pop culture and conservative politics. In fact it shares some serious connections to senators, governors, Fox News, etc.

There isn’t a big overlap with conservatives and furries. We talked on Twitter after the show, and they were curious to know why? I gave a very generic reason of demographics.  There’s no politics about being a talking animal and we come in all stripes.  But young and queer people tend not to be overly enamored with the right-wing or christian fundamentalists. That goes both ways.

yiffstick

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Interview with a Secret Furry animator inside a top movie studio.

by Patch O'Furr

zootopiaRemember when everyone went nuts about Zootopia’s animators talking to furries, and even nutsier when it came out that they were intentionally marketing to us?  They noticed us!  

But could the conspiracy go even deeper?  Have you heard other furs wondering if we have insiders in the media (even celebrities), or Secret Furry animators making movies we love?

Here’s an interview with one of those animators. For obvious reasons, identifying details are protected.  I can’t reveal where they work, but I can tell you that they have animated characters in some of the biggest movies ever, as well as having a quiet presence on popular furry sites.  If I told you more, it could make your eyes pop out.  Please excuse me for keeping things vague and teasing you about juicy secrets for me to know and you to find out.

(Patch:) What’s your job like, and how do you like it?
(Secret Furry:) I love what I get to do for a living. It’s hard work and long hours at times, but each project brings new challenges and opportunities that keep things fresh, and help me better my skills. For as long as I’ve been at it, I still feel lucky and appreciative to get to do this every day.

Can you share a favorite movie, and a favorite furry artist?
Pinpointing a favorite movie is too hard for me. I’m an action, sci fi, and horror junky. Some films that I love include Die Hard, Aliens, Predator, Starship Troopers, and Hellraiser. I could go on and on, but you could probably see the direction I tend to lean. On the animation side, Aladdin, Lion King, Spirited Away are some of my faves. As for particular artists I can’t say I have a favorite as of yet. There’s so much great work floating around out there in so many varied styles.

Can you tell the coolest or most silly thing you have seen at work?
I can’t get specific here, but occasionally a celebrity will waltz though. I always kind of geek out when that happens. As for the “silly things,” they happen all the time.  It’s part of what makes the job light and fun even when the pressure and deadlines are on.

Can you tell the coolest or most silly thing you have seen in furry fandom?
I love walking around the open areas of cons, and just people/furry watch. There is always something funny going on, be it a furry on the ground covered in doughnuts, or furs doing fun a creative and spontaneous mini skits to entertain. At this years BLFC there was a guy walking around with a giant die, handing out prizes. Two thumbs up for that!

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Legacy: Dawn, by Rukis – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

rukis-legacy-dawnLegacy: Dawn, by Rukis. Illustrated by the author.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2016, hardcover $29.95 (383 pages), trade paperback $19.95.

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

Legacy: Dawn is a standalone novel by Rukis, set in her world of Red Lantern (Sofawolf Press, March 2012) and Heretic (FurPlanet Productions, January 2013). Like the others, it takes place in a brutal semi-Renaissance anthropomorphic world.

Legacy: Dawn is narrated by Kadar, a low-caste jackal in a rigid stratified society ruled by a hyena aristocracy:

“I was born in a small village near the Hyronses river, to a family of laborers working in the brick kilns. My family, as many generations back as the walls of my home and the scrawlings of previous dead relatives could trace back, have always been laborers on the clay flats, working the brick kilns. We have little choice. There is no elevation from the labor caste. If you are born a laborer, and you live long enough to have children of your own, they too will be laborers. That’s simply how it is. How it has always been. How it will always be.

At least, that’s what I was raised to believe.” (p. 7)

Kadar only describes his childhood for the first four pages. After that he is an adult indentured servant, which is not practically different than a slave:

“He [Kadar’s guard] doesn’t hesitate to bring that up. ‘Your contract requires that you work,’ the hyena sniffs, ‘you can’t very well do that if you’re on the run. We’re legally obliged by our employers to keep you sedate and dutifully paying off your debt. By any means. Any injuries you sustain during an escape attempt are your cross to bear during the workday. The harvest doesn’t stop just because you went and got yourself damaged.’” (pgs. 11-12)

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Purrfect Tails – OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

7cf29bba-07f0-4b2b-8767-f2562fedf847This is different, yet it’s familiar. Say one day you are walking down the street doing your business when someone catches your eye. They look human. They have the eyes, nose, lips, skin, but that’s not what grabbed your attention. It was the ears for they are not human, but of an animal. Your first though is of a cat. Then you look down to notice a tail. You want to know more about this person. What they are, why they are like this, and maybe, just maybe, you want to explore more. That is what Tarl “Voice” Hoch presents to use with his new erotic neko anthology, Purrfect Tails, and they are OPEN FOR SUBMISSION!

So first thing first to those who don’t know, what on earth is even a neko?

A neko is a character who is either male or female with feline characteristics on a human body, generally a pair of ears, and in many cases, a tail. Unlike a furry character, they generally look human or extremely close to it rather than being a sort of half breed between a cat and a human. They generally still act like cats, or have cat-like tendencies, but also function as normal people as well.

A good place to learn more about Nekos is here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CatGirl

Edited by Tarl “Voice” Hoch, best known for doing horror anthologies, he got to become an editor cause as he puts it he fell into it.

I had been noticing that there was a distinct lack of horror books/anthologies in the fandom and made a tweet about it. Next thing I knew, I was getting all of these favorites and replies to it and Fuzz said FurPlanet were interested in it. So I wrote up a proposal and call for submissions and that was that. I learned a lot of lessons from that first anthology, had some good and bad experiences, but in the end it helped me to grow as a writer.

Already, Tarl has produced many works both within and outside the fandom.

I have a horror anthology published by FurPlanet titled Abandoned Places and I am currently working on a science fiction/horror anthology which will also be published by FurPlanet. I also wrote the story for an 18+ comic which was illustrated and printed by KomicKrazi and only available by sending me a request or at Fur-Eh! in Edmonton. Other than those, I am published in a number of anthologies inside and outside of the furry fandom, a list of which can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759304.Tarl_Voice_Hoch

But that still leaves us with the question, why is Tarl interested in making an erotic anthology around nekoes?

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Song of the Summer King, by Jess E. Owen – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

61WDYh9RmLLSong of the Summer King, by Jess E. Owen. Map.
Whitefish, MT, Five Elements Press, July 2012, hardcover $30.00 ([viii +] 246 [+2] pages), paperback $12.99, Kindle $4.99.

“Shard is a gryfon in danger. He and other young males of the Silver Isles are old enough to fly, hunt, and fight–old enough to be threats to their ruler, the red gryfon king. In the midst of the dangerous initiation hunt, Shard takes the unexpected advice of a strange she-wolf who seeks him out, and hints that Shard’s past isn’t all that it seems. To learn his past, Shard must abandon the future he wants and make allies of those the gryfons call enemies. When the gryfon king declares open war on the wolves, it throws Shard’s past and uncertain future into the turmoil between. Now with battle lines drawn, Shard must decide whether to fight beside his king . . .or against him.” (blurb)

The beginning of the first volume of Owen’s The Summer King Chronicles tetralogy is reminiscent of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. “Fresh morning air lifted clouds and gulls above the glimmering sea, and drew one young gryfon early from his den. Too early, just before sunrise when forbidden darkness still blanketed the islands.” (p. 1)

Shard, a young gryphon, has sneaked out from his cave on Sun Isle early to get some additional flying practice. It’s not for the pure glory of flying, though. Shard is a native of the Silver Isles, conquered a generation ago by the gryfon Sverin the Red King and his Aesir.

“‘The king comes,’ said the older gryfon. Halvden [the son of one of Sverin’s advisors] blinked and spun as they all perked ears toward the king’s rocks. The king glided in from his morning flight, massive wings flaring, stirring the grass as he landed on the top of his rocks.

The largest of the pride, Sverin-son-of-Per looked every bit a king. He wore gold, crusted with emerald and sparkling catseye, around his neck, and golden bands clamped to his forelegs just above the spread of black talons. Tokens from Sverin’s grandfather’s war with dragons in the farthest arctic lands across the sea. The dawn outlined his copper flanks, throwing sheen across the scarlet feathers of his shoulders and the deep crimson of his face.” (p. 7)

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Dream Jumper: Book One, Nightmare Escape – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

71+62fmn3iLDream Jumper. Book One, Nightmare Escape, by Greg Grunberg & Lucas Turnbloom.
NYC, Scholastic Press/Graphix, July 2016, hardcover $24.99 (203 [+1] pages), trade paperback $12.99, Kindle $7.99.

In this adventure fantasy recommended for grades 5 to 8, middle school student Ben Maxwell is failing because he keeps falling asleep in classes from exhaustion. He has nightmares every night about monsters chasing him and his school friends. But his friends also have nightmares, and Ben is in them. A rabbit named Lewis tells Ben that he is really a Dream Jumper, with the power to enter others’ nightmares that are sent by the hulking monster Erebus, the lackey of Phobetor, the Nightmare Lord. Lewis teaches Ben how to fight Erebus and his nox minions that thrive off people’s fears.

But it’s all more complicated than that. As Ben’s mother insists that he be tested at a Sleep Clinic for his “disorders”, and Ben demands that Lewis in the Dream World tell him more about what is going on, details emerge that are more science-fictional than fantastic, such as the government’s top-secret Office for Dream Warfare. Just who are Phobetor and Erebus? Who are Lewis and his friends, who are clearly more than just cute furry and feathery talking animals? Will Ben’s classmates from Taft Middle School play a more important part than needing saving from their nightmares? Stay tuned for Book 2.

Fantasy and s-f stories about a separate waking world and a dream world, with a protagonist who is able to travel between the two, go back to at least the 1940s. Two 1940s examples, both for adults, are the novel Slaves of Sleep by L. Ron Hubbard and the short story “Dreams Are Sacred” by Peter Phillips. By making their Dream World more fantastic, with friendly Dream Jumper talking animals like Lewis the rabbit and Mrs. Geomy the gopher, author Grunberg and illustrator Turnbloom have produced a comic-book-format novel that can help preadolescents to discover the worlds of furry literature.

– Fred Patten

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