Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: January, 2015

Off the Beaten Path, by Rukis – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Off the Beaten Path, by Rukis. Illustrated by the author.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2014, trade paperback $19.95 (385 pages).

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

Rukis_OTBP_web“When I turned thirteen years of age, the village elder told me I had become a woman. When I had turned fourteen years of age, my mother told me I had become a burden. When I had turned fifteen years of age, my father told me I had become a wife. He had been paid [by] a man from the Anukshen to take me away from everything I knew and every person I cared for, to become his third wife.” (p. 9)

This is one of those books that is almost impossible to review without giving away spoilers. Basically, except for the anthropomorphic-animal and fantasy-world aspects, the setting is North America shortly after the British colonies along the Eastern Coast have won their independence. Shivah, the narrator (bobcat), is a young woman of a native tribe in a valley beyond the “Otherwolf” lands. She has only known two tribes, her own Katoshen and the neighboring Anukshen. They barely tolerate each other, grudgingly trading together. Both are extremely patriarchal, treating women as little more than slaves and baby-making machines. Shivah is married against her will to Methoa’nuk, an arrogant and brutal Anukshen Honored Warrior for two horses and a brick of salt. Despite her attempts to be a “good wife”, she disgraces him (or maybe he just blames his disgrace on her). Methoa kills their year-old son, and encourages the Anukshen to stone her to death. She recovers consciousness weeks later, having been nursed back to health by two wandering trappers from faroff differing tribes, Ransom, a tall coyote, and Puck (Puquanath Roatok), a blind white fox medicine man who “sees” with his ears:

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Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

maddy-kettle-100dpi_lgMaddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch, by Eric Orchard. Illustrated.

Marietta, GA, Top Shelf Productions, August 2014, softcover $14.95 (89 [+ 2] pages).

This is a softcover children’s fantasy in the tradition of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: a young girl has adventures in a magic world full of talking animals. It is in the publisher’s “Kids Club” series, but like all the best children’s fantasies, it is really for all ages.

Eleven-year-old Maddy Kettle was happy, living in her parents’ bookstore/house in the Western-looking town of Dustcloud Gap. Her pet musical floating spadefoot toad, Ralph (she tethered him on a string, like a balloon), made her popular with all of the other schoolkids. But one night Maddy woke up and saw the Thimblewitch flying away from their home, and when she went downstairs to investigate, she found her parents turned into talking kangaroo rats. Her father refused to let her chase after the witch to cure them, insisting that it was too dangerous. But after the witch’s spider goblins kidnap the kangaroo rats and Ralph, there is nothing to keep her from going after them.

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Spirit Hunters: The Way of the Fox, by Paul Kidd – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Spirit Hunters. Book 1: The Way of the Fox, by Paul Kidd. Illustrated by Angie Kae (KaeMantis).
Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com/Perth, Western Australia, Kitsune Press, September 2014, trade paperback $31.97 (470 pages), Kindle $7.99.

product_thumbnailSpirit Hunters is set in the realm of traditional Japanese mythology, vaguely around 900 or 1000 A.D. if you know your Japanese history. It begins with the rebel lord Sanuki nō Tazadane trying to annex the lands of Kitsune Mountain.

“Lord Sanuki’s castle and treasury both mysteriously burned to the ground two days later …” (p. 3)

Asodo Kuno, a young and handsome, but not terribly bright human samurai, a junior deputy of the sixth rank (a bottom-rung position) in service to Magistrate Masura of the Imperial court, is traveling on foot to the sword tournament at Iris Castle, where Magistrate Masura is presiding over contests of swordsmanship. Kuno hopes to win the tournament to achieve promotion to a higher position. He meets Kitsune nō Sura along the road:

“A fox woman lounged upon a fallen log like a reclining Buddha, eating a roasted chicken leg. Beside her, there were the embers of a camp fire and a pair of backpacks ready for travel. The fox woman had a long, clever pointed muzzle, and great, green eyes filled with humour. Her body was human in size an shape – excepting for its lush pelt of fur, her fox head with muzzle and long pointed ears, and her long, elegant red tail. She wore a priestess’ robes decorated with images of peaches – with each peach missing a single bite. The fox called out to Kuno in a loud and merry voice while she wriggled her black-furred toes.” (p. 12)

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Uncovered, by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

uncoveredUncovered, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Blotch.
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, July 2014, trade paperback $19.95 ([xvi] + 411 [+ 3] pages), Kindle $9.99.

(publisher’s advisory):
“’Uncovered’ is a romance novel intended for an adult audience only and contains some explicit sexual scenes of a primarily Male/Male nature. It is not for sale to persons under 18.” 

This is Book 4 in Gold’s award-winning Out of Position series, following Out of Position (2009), Isolation Play (2011), and Divisions (2013). The series follows the lives of the tiger Devlin Miski and the fox Wiley “Lee” Farrel as they become secret homosexual lovers while seniors at Forester University, then graduate. Dev, a college football player, is signed onto the professional Chevali Firebirds, while Lee applies for a non-playing job with his team. When Dev becomes the first outed gay football player, their lives and the lives of their families and Dev’s teammates are thrown into turmoil, with some staying supportive and others turning hostile. Dev and Lee can now openly set up housekeeping together, but each is faced with many problems.

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French Anthropomorphic Animal Animated Features, part 1 – by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer. There will be four parts.

French (meaning French-language, whether produced in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, or the French-speaking part of Switzerland) anthro theatrical features have been in the news since the subtitled 2013 U.S. release (English-language dub in 2014) of the 2012 Belgian Ernest & Célestine, about the forbidden friendship between a mouse and a bear in a civilization of both. Right now, there is also Yellowbird.

French-language anthro theatrical features are older than most Americans think. Here is a chronological annotated list.

First, some rules. This list consists of those French-language theatrical features (no shorts or TV animation like the 1987 Moi Renart) that feature anthropomorphic animals as the only or majority of the cast. It does not include those featuring mostly humans with only one or two anthro animals, such as the Lucky Luke Westerns with Jolly Jumper, Luke’s talking horse; even when the animal(s) is the main star, such as the 2008 Fly Me to the Moon (three housefly astronauts meet Buzz Aldrin; ho ho) or the 2009 La Véritable Histoire du Chat Botté (The True Story of Puss in Boots) or the 2012 Sur la Piste du Marsupilami (On the Trail of the Marsupilami). It does not include any movies about living toys, fairies, gremlins, elves, or Smurfs.

Le Roman de Renard (The Story of the Fox), directed by Ladislas Starevich. 65 minutes. April 10, 1941.Roman_renard

This is a dubious “French” film with a dubious release date. Starevich (or Starewicz) began making stop-motion films in Russia in 1911. He emigrated to escape the Russian Revolution, and only happened to be in Paris during 1929 and 1930 when he and his wife Irene animated Le Roman de Renard. The animation turned out to be easier than the sound track, which was finally funded in Germany and premiered in Berlin as Reinicke Fuchs on April 10, 1937. The French edit, which is the best-known today, was released exactly four years later on April 10, 1941.

The film is presented as “the oldest and most beautiful story known to us animals”, as narrated by an elderly monkey dressed as a Medieval scholar. The scenario is credited to Irène Starevich, but it is essentially Le Roman de Renart as finalized in literary form by the Renaissance, especially in Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1794 Reineke Fuchs epic poem. By the 1920s almost every standard edition of Goethe’s poem had the 1840s illustrations by Wilhelm von Kaulbach, and the Starevich’s stop-motion models look very similar to these. If you know the 12th-century animal folk tale about Baron Renard the Fox at the court of King Lion, you know the plot of the movie.

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A Wilder West, by Ted R. Blasingame – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 7.34.29 AMA Wilder West, by Ted R. Blasingame

Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com, August 2014, trade paperback $13.99 (258 pages). 

“The range of low granite mountains baked in the prairie’s summer sun, heat waves shimmering into water mirages wherever there were flat places. A ghostly dust devil stirred up dirt in a dancing pirouette while heat-loving cicadas chirred across the plain, filling the air with their rolling song of mating.” (p. 8)

If you think that this sounds like the opening of a Western, you’d be right – except that this is a Western with a Fur, a nude half-human, half-cheetah woman named Citra Kayah. No human has ever seen anything like her before, until she saves the life of Jacob Harrison, a middle-aged showman who is attacked by a mountain lion while out riding in Oklahoma. Jake is dumbfounded, but grateful and in her debt, so he can’t turn Citra down when she asks to join his small traveling Wild West show.

“‘I am far from my home,’ she replied, ‘and I am in constant danger from others like you who would not hesitate to kill me for my pelt. Until I can find a way to return to where I belong, I will need your protection.’

‘How can I protect you?’ he asked, wiping the sweat from his brow.

‘Take me in as a curiosity for your show. It would allow me to hide in plain sight.’” (p. 24)

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Slightly Damned, Book 3, by Sarah “Chu” Wilson – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Slightly Damned, Book 3, by Sarah “Chu” Wilson

Phoenix, AZ, Slightly Damned Comics/Orlando, FL, Ka-Blam Digital Printing, Aug. 2014, trade PB $39.95 (unpaged [282 pages]), digital download $4.99.

6828_113758BSlightly Damned, Book 3 is here, collecting pages #377 to #571 (March 15, 2010 to January 26, 2013) of Sarah “Chu” Wilson’s Ursa Major Award-winning internet comic strip. They are divided into Part 5, Forgive Me, and Part 6, The Flower Festival.

“The Story So Far” begins: “After Rhea, Buwaro, and Kieri rescued a pair of kidnapped Fairies in Riverside City, they joined the traveling Sinclair family on the road.”

Does this tell you anything, if you’re not reading the strip regularly? Like any long-running newspaper or Internet comic strip, new readers have to just jump in and pick up the background as you go along. Briefly: Rhea Snaketail, a yellow-furred (she sheds) Jakkai, is murdered, but because she wasn’t really bad, she is only assigned to the Ring of the Slightly Damned in Hell. She meets Buwaro, a horned, purple-furred Demon, but basically a nice guy. After several adventures (Book 1), Rhea escapes with Buwaro back to her homeworld, Medius, which has two moons and a lot of fantasy beings wandering around. They meet Kieri (Buwaro calls her “Snowy”), a blue-haired Angel who became stranded when she came to Medius (rather, to Rhea’s continent of Fragaria) with her brother Kazai, and he disappeared. Buwaro and Kieri fall in love (“A Demon and an Angel? It just isn’t …”), which infuriates (or as the earthy Rhea would say, pisses off) both the Demons and Angels who traditionally try to kill each other. The Odd Trio search Fragaria for Kazai; first in nearby Riverside City, then joining the Sinclair family of traveling merchants to continue their search in Weyville, and then larger St. Curtis.

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Baby squirrels smell like maple syrup – Post FurCon Newsdump (1/20/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Story tips are always welcome.

Site news:

Super linty hugs for everyone, especially if you send Dogpatch Press from the Ursa Majors recommended list to the Award nominations (now open!) For the next few weeks, my posting will be sparse due to time demands.  Meanwhile, enjoy uninterrupted content from Fred Patten.  His History of Furry Publishing is packed with amazing info. (It wore out my eyes to lay out tons of cool cover art from early zines and books.)  You might also catch a few of my back-dated Flayrah articles reposted via @dogpatchpress.

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In the Media

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More FurCon coverage: “Furries descend on Silicon Valley, modeling eccentricity for a staid tech culture.” Read the rest of this entry »

Animation: “Thunder and the House of Magic” – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

I would like to thank my sister, Sherrill Patten, for getting this On Demand on her TV so I could see it.

Actually, I could pretty much just repeat my comments about “The Nut Job” on Flayrah last February. “Thunder and the House of Magic” is an 85–minute CGI Belgian animated feature from nWave Pictures that was released as “The House of Magic” in French, in Belgium, France, and the French-speaking parts of Switzerland, on December 25, 2013 for the Christmas market. The Boston setting and the title and signage in English (there is even a U.S. 5¢ coin) suggest that it was always intended for the American market. Its original American trailer as “The House of Magic” with an announced release date of July 25 seems to confirm this. Something fell through, and it was finally picked up for North America as “Thunder and the House of Magic” by The Shout! Factory, primarily a DVD releaser. The Shout! Factory gave it an extremely limited American theatrical release in ten cities on September 5 (for one week?) to qualify it for the Oscars, Annies, Golden Globes, and other 2014 awards nominations, then sold it to On Demand TV networks for the rest of September (Sherry & I saw it on Time Warner Cable for $6.99), and has announced it as a Shout! Factory DVD on September 30 for $22.47.

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The Furry Future: Fred Patten’s book announcement for Further Confusion 2015

by Patch O'Furr

Late, but not too late… sorry Fred! A busy week got in the way of posting this before the con. There’s time to check it out at the con now.

Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer, submits this announcement:

The Furry Future; 19 Possible Prognostications, edited by Fred Patten and published by FurPlanet Productions, is scheduled for release at the Further Confusion 2015 convention, in San Jose, California, on January 15-19, 2015. It will be on sale through the online FurPlanet catalogue thereafter.

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