Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: October, 2015

Cat Crimebusters and Other P.I.’s on Paws – Book Review By Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

31Ys21veVpLI have written lots of reviews of French talking-animal comic books. It’s time to also cover talking-animals in text in the mystery/detective novel field. Here is a profile of one of the oldest series of all; the Midnight Louie novels by Carole Nelson Douglas. Future articles will present other cat crimebusters, dog detectives (mostly the Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn), and a whole slew of German animal sleuths from Akif Pirinçci’s brutal Felidae novels to Moritz Matthies’ “ultra-cool” novels about meerkat detectives who sneak out of the Berlin Zoo to investigate animal murders.

This is a sort-of milestone in the annals of the cat crimebusters. By that, I mean the feline murder mysteries that have been so popular among mystery fans for the past three decades. And I don’t mean all the “cat cozies” in which an unanthropomorphized pet cat tags along with the human amateur detective while she solves the crime. I mean those in which the cat is the real detective – and usually the narrator – finding the clues, and surreptitiously batting them out for the human amateur detective or the police to find.

The milestone is the almost-conclusion after two and a half decades of Carole Nelson Douglas’ Midnight Louie alphabet series. She has been writing one or two a year in alphabetical order for over twenty-six years. This year, in 2015, she has reached the end of the alphabet with Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit, published on August 24. Temple Barr is a young publicist in colorful Las Vegas living in a rundown but exotic apartment house. She is “adopted” by Midnight Louie, a stray slightly-overweight black cat (about 20 pounds) who moves in. While Louie detects for the animals, the main crimes are human that Temple has to solve. Louie surreptitiously helps. There are Temple Barr, the Las Vegas publicity agent who is Louie’s apparent owner and unsuspecting cover for his detecting – Max Kinsella and Matt Devine, Temple’s two lovers – Carmen Molina, the hard-as-nails Las Vegas female police detective who gives Temple and Louie a hard time – Electra Lark, Temple’s elderly Circle Ritz apartment-house manager, and Van von Rhine, owner of Vegas’ high-end Crystal Phoenix hotel, Temple’s main client – Louie’s Midnight Investigations, Inc., later expanded into his Vegas Cat Pack assistants including Midnight Louise, his (probable) daughter, and Ma Barker, his mother – and too many to list here. Next year the 28th novel in the series, Cat in an Alphabet Endgame, will wrap it all up. (Though Douglas has promised that Louie will go on to new adventures.)

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The Prophecy Machine and The Treachery of Kings – Book Reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

the Prophecy MachineThe Prophecy Machine, by Neal Barrett Jr.
NYC, Bantam Books/Spectra, November 2000, 0-553-58195-3 paperback $6.50 (342 [+ 1] pages).

The Treachery of Kings, by Neal Barrett Jr.
NYC, Bantam Books/Spectra, August 2001, 0-553-58196-1 paperback $6.50 (326 [+ 1] pages).

In works of fiction, usually the focus is upon the plot, or the main characters. In The Prophecy Machine by Neal Barrett, Jr. and its sequel, The Treachery of Kings, it is the setting: the weird, wonderful world in which the stories take place.   In its land of Makasar, to quote The Prophecy Machine’s blurb, “Its two major religions are Hatters and Hooters. During the day, Hatters, wearing hats of course, wander about jabbing pointy sticks into bystanders. The night is ruled by the Hooters, who hoot and set fire to people and things. Hospitality is considered a capital crime. And Newlies, the humanized animals, are treated lower than scum.”

The protagonist in this fey world is Master Lizard-Maker Finn, who runs The Lizard Shoppe in Ulster-East, where he makes mechanical lizards such as the one on his shoulder when he is introduced aboard the ocean vessel Madeleine Rose:

“‘What I thought is,’ the captain said, rubbing a sleeve across his nose, ‘I thought, with the salt air and all, the ah–object on your shoulder there, that’s the thing I mean, might be prone to oxidation, to rust as it’s commonly called.’

‘Indeed.’

‘I’ve been some curious, as others have as well, just what it might be. Now don’t feel we’re trying to intrude . . .’

‘Of course not, sir.’ Finn smiled, taking some pleasure in finding the captain ill at ease. ‘What you speak of is a lizard. I design and craft lizards of every sort. Lizards for work, lizards for play. Lizards for the rich and poor alike. I make them of metal, base and precious too, sometimes with finery, sometimes with gems. The one you see here is made of copper, tin, iron, and bits of brass.’

The captain closed one squinty eye, looked at Finn’s shoulder, then looked away again.

‘And these–lizards, what exactly do they do, Master Finn?’

‘Oh, a great number of things,’ Finn said. ‘When we have some time I’d be pleased to explain. It might be I can make one for you.’” (The Prophecy Machine, p. 3)

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Bones of the Empire, by Jim Galford – Book Review By Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

bones of the empireBones of the Empire, by Jim Galford.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2015, trade paperback $13.99 (508 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Bones of the Empire is Book 5 and the conclusion of Galford’s The Fall of Eldvar series. It connects the events in both Books 1 & 2, In Wilder Lands and Into the Desert Wilds, and Book 4, The Northern Approach. This is a continuous series, so it assumes that the reader is familiar with the events in the four prior novels. If you have not read them yet, you had better start with the first and read them in order. This is not a chore; the whole series is a single gripping adventure.

Eldvar is a world of humans, elves, dwarfs, talking dragons and more, including the wildlings who are anthropomorphic animals. The story’s focus on the wildlings is why the novels of The Fall of Eldvar have qualified for previous reviews. Most of the setting is similar to the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. (Bones of the Empire debuted at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2015 in Denver.) The Northern Approach was about Raeln (a wildling wolf) and On’esquin (an orc), the leaders of a group of desperate refugees from fallen Lantonne fleeing the conquering Turessi necromantic armies of zombie warriors, abandoning the refugees to set out alone to fulfill the prophecy to overthrow the necromancers. That group meets up with the party of wildlings, humans, fae-kin, and everything else led by Estin (a ring-tailed lemur wildling) and Feanne (a red vixen) from the first two novels. (The wraparound cover by Rukis features Estin, Feanne, and two fanged dire wolves.) The four volumes of the series come together for this finale. Read the rest of this entry »

Zootopia characters revealed, Furries on NCIS, 7 foot tall furry hugs – NEWSDUMP (10/26/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

"Bonnie Hunt provides the voice of Bonnie Hopps. Judy's mother. Don Lake voices Judy’s father, Stu Hopps, a carrot farmer from Bunnyburrow. (Disney)"

“Bonnie Hunt provides the voice of Bonnie Hopps. Judy’s mother. Don Lake voices Judy’s father, Stu Hopps, a carrot farmer from Bunnyburrow. (Disney)”

USA Today shares a lot of new Zootopia images and story hints.

Are you excited for Disney’s new furriest movie?  Mrs. Otterton’s missing husband spurs the action on.  There’s “Duke Weaselton, a small-time weasel crook with a big-time mouth”. Judy Hopps is “a ground-breaking rabbit trying to make it as a cop” – it sounds like bunnies usually aren’t cops, so we get a nice hint about what species means in the Zootopia world.  Enjoy more from USA Today’s exclusive Facebook gallery.

You know furries everywhere are getting ready for the 2016 Furmageddon*… in the SF Bay area, dozens are already signed up to go fursuiting to the opening in March. (*I’ve been reminded that Furpocalypse is a convention happening this weekend.)

Furries on NCIS Los Angeles.

Last week there was a CSI-style bad furry stereotype on iZombie.  This week, two NCIS characters revealed furriness.

Go to 18:00 in the link.  The important part starts at around 19:00.  It goes for about a minute, with one more remark before the scene cuts at 21:00.  It’s lightly humorous, maybe flirty banter between the two characters.  They joke about how furry conventions can “go off the rails”, but that’s the worst judgement.  They discuss fursonas and share appreciation, making a nice, innocuous minute in the pop culture spotlight. Isn’t that a relief?

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ROAR vol. 6 – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

ROAR volume 6, Scoundrels, edited by Mary E. Lowd.
Dallas, TX, Bad Dog Books, July 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (394 pages), Kindle $9.95.

ROAR6ROAR, Bad Dog Books’ about-annual anthology of non-erotic furry adventure short fiction, enters a new phase with volume 6. Volumes 2 through 5 were edited by Buck C. Turner. Mary E. Lowd takes over with #6, and she’s announced as the editor for 2016’s #7. What are the differences?

ROAR has grown considerably larger. #1, edited by Ben Goodridge in 2007, has 12 stories in 277 pages. #2 through #5, edited by Buck Turner, expanded slowly and erratically — #2 in 2010 is 6 stories in 320 pages, #3 is 10 stories in 260 pages, #4 is 12 stories in 297 pages, and #5 is 14 stories in 325 pages. (All previous volumes are still available.) ROAR #6 is 28 stories in 394 pages; a large jump forward.

ROAR #1 through #5 contain furry dramatic adventures and serious mood pieces. #6 adds humor to the mixture. Here are the first half-dozen stories:

“Squonk the Dragon” by Pete Butler. A dragon’s egg is hatched by Mrs. Tweedle-Chirp, a small blue bird. Squonk builds a nest for himself at the top of a giant tree. Wendel the wizard assumes that all dragons live in caves, so Squonk must be a scoundrel and tries to get rid of him. The story is enjoyably amusing, but it feels more like a case of mistaken identity, not a real scoundrel.

“Brush and Sniff” by mwalimu. Berek, an adolescent in a small village of anthro wolves, is given Itchit, a captured wild squirrel as a pet. He gradually trains Itchit (who he calls Brush) through kindness to accept him. The story is developed through both viewpoints; Berek’s and Itchit’s. This is a gentle, well-written mood piece, though there is no real reason for Berek and his family and neighbors to be anthro wolves rather than humans. This could be any story about a frontier boy coaxing a wild squirrel to accept him.

“Faithful” by Marshall L. Moseley. Okay, this is a drama with justifiable anthro characters and a real scoundrel. Read the rest of this entry »

French Comic: Léonid. T. 1, Les Deux Albinos – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

91pzQz5K1xLLéonid. T. 1, Les Deux Albinos, by Frédéric Brrémaud & Stefano Turconi.
Toulon, France, Soleil, August 2015, hardcover 10,95 (48 pages).

My thanks to Lex Nakashima, as usual for this French bande dessinée album.

At first glance, Léonid looks like a cute funny-animal comic book featuring cats, roughly similar to Disney’s 1970 The Aristocats. But its story, full of blood and terror, is closer to the German Felidae, either the 1989 novel by Akif Pirinçci or the furry-convention-favorite 1994 animated feature. (Both are good, but the movie simplifies the complex story.)

The locale is the farming district of Deux-Sèvres, in central-west France. “Léonid is a cat, not yet an adult, but not a kitten, either. Just a young cat. He lives in a house in the district, in the midst of trees, pretty far from any city and close to a farm.” Léonid is a young housecat, living with two other housecats (Hoa Mai, a Siamese, and Rosso, an elderly orange Pekinese) and a dog (Mirza, a toy terrier). His household is also the home of Atchi, a mouse constantly sneezing because he’s allergic to cat hairs. Léonid is allowed outside during the daytime to associate and play with the local feral cats; the female black-&-white Ba’on, and the males Bouboule (the fat one), Arsène (the nervous one), and an anonymous one (because he’s almost immediately killed).

Two newborn lambs are slaughtered at night, apparently by a wild animal. The cats inside a house are presumably safe, but the feral cats who spend nights outdoors worry that a fox may have moved into the neighborhood – or (for those who fear the less-probable predators) a wolf or an ermine. Léonid finds out that it was two bloodthirsty albino cats, but at first he can’t convince anyone else. They think that he’s exaggerating to make himself look important; then, when the two albinos kidnap Ba’on, they say that it’s every cat for himself. Meanwhile, the farmer has set Zeus and Apollon, his two killer hounds, loose to safeguard the rest of his flock, and the dogs run bloodily through the neighborhood as a savage danger to all of the cats who aren’t safe in houses.

The Two Albinos is mostly the story of how Ba’on is kidnapped by the two albinos to be their slave, and how Léonid and Atchi, the sneezing mouse, venture outside to her rescue. They’re successful, but not really because Ba’on reveals that while she was in the albino cats’ power, they boasted that they are just the vanguard of “the horde”, “the avant-garde of the terror of Great Attila, our guide” who will kill or enslave all the animals of the district.   Léonid, Ba’on, Aichi, Hoa Mai, Rossi, and Mirza are left wondering what to do when Attila and his horde arrive? Read the rest of this entry »

By Tooth and Claw: Clan of the Claw, Edited by Bill Fawcett – Book Review By Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

By Tooth and ClawBy Tooth and Claw: Clan of the Claw, Book 2 [edited by Bill Fawcett].
Riverdale, NY, Baen Books, April 2015, trade paperback $15.00 (309 pages), Kindle $8.99.

Book 1, Exiled: Clan of the Claw, was published in August 2011. I had begun to think that Book 2 would never come out.

Bill Fawcett has been editing, or packaging, books about the anthropomorphic feline Mrem fighting the anthropomorphic reptilian Liskash/Lizcanth for over twenty-five years. In 1989/90 he got four paperback novels by different authors published in Bantam Spectra’s Guardians of the Three series. Only one was any good, but that one, Keeper of the City by Peter Morwood & Diane Duane, is one of the finest anthropomorphic adventures ever written, well worth seeking out today. Fawcett’s second series, the 1999 three Shattered Light paperbacks for Pocket Books, was notable for only Catseye by William R. Forschen & Jaki Demarest, a cheerful ripoff of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers with a human teenage swordsman trying to join three Mrem King’s musketeers fighting a Lizcanth Cardinal’s Guard.

The Clan of the Claw series for Baen Books supposes that the giant meteor that crashed into the Earth 65.5 million years ago, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs (according to many paleontologists), never occurred. (This is the same premise as Pixar’s forthcoming The Good Dinosaur.) The dinosaurs continued to evolve and became the reptilian manlike Liskash. The new mammals also evolved and gave rise to the manlike felinoid Mrem. The two are deadly enemies. Both are about of Bronze Age technology, and possess “magic” that may really be psionic powers. The series takes place about 5.3 million years ago, when the Atlantic Ocean has just broken into and drowned the dry Mediterranean basin. The Clan of the Claw outline postulates that several clans of Mrem were living in the Mediterranean valley at the time. Most of those who did not drown scrambled up to the north to join the other Mrem clans in what is Europe today. One clan, the Clan of the Claw, went south and found itself in what is today North Africa, surrounded by hostile Liskash clans. The Mrem must battle their way around the new Mediterranean Sea to reach the other Mrem in Europe, endlessly defeating one Liskash clan after another. Read the rest of this entry »

Tinder Stricken, by Heidi C. Vlach – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Tinder Stricken, by Heidi C. Vlach.tinderstrickenfin_1750-by-2500
Sudbury, Ontario, Heidi C. Vlach, May 2015, trade paperback $14.00 (266 pages), Kindle $3.99.

“By dawn’s feeble light and one smoldering candle, Esha stared into the polished tin mirror, full of dread like every other morning. The goat had stolen a little more of her body through the night.” (p. 1)

Esha lives in a world in which most people turn into animals during their lifetimes:

“Only the luckiest people got to see their faces turn distinguished and their human hair go silver. The heavens gave humans precious little time in their ideal bodies and capable minds, before they slid back into more bestial form. Esha had reached her forty-eighth year of life and she was still mostly presentable – after physicians telling her she would be a bleating beast by her thirty-fifth. To some degree, Esha was doing well.” (ibid.)

Esha may be doing well physically, but socially she is among the lowest castes. Her world has an Eastern Asian aura; her greeting is “namaste”, her currency is rupees, bamboo grows everywhere; she is a farm woman working in the fields – her official name is Esha Of The Fields – of the Janjuman Farms, along with many identical low-caste women of the Fields. Most of them chew betel, a common narcotic. Esha has many field-sisters, but she has only one close friend; Gita Of The Fields, who is turning into a deer.

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Austin Furry Dance organizer Whines gives a Q&A for the Furclub Survey.

by Patch O'Furr

Furclubbing: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.”  It’s a New Thing that’s been spreading since the late 2000’s.  This kind of dance party is independent from conventions.  This builds on the growth of cons, and takes things farther.

It’s more ambitious than events that happen once, house parties, or informal meets.  Those can stay inner-focused for friends who already know each other.   This brings partnership with venues that aren’t hotels, and new supportive interest in the kind of events they host.  It crosses a line to public space.  A stranger may walk in off the street to discover their new favorite thing.  It encourages new blood, and crossover to other scenes. It makes subculture thrive. It’s a movement!

See the list of parties at The Furclub survey.  Any party that gives a Q&A will get a featured article.  I found out about this one from a rare news notice of Austin TX’s Longhorn Furs. Organizer Whines shares an underground series that builds the kind I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots more of:

Austin Furry Dance series (2013- now)

____________________  

 

(Whines:) Great idea for putting this list together, what little I’d found out previously was just from checking regional forums, which is time-consuming. 🙂

Party name: 

The Austin furry dance is a continuing series of events that happen every 2-3 months. Each dance has had its own name–‘Maybe?’ ‘Do Not Look Into Laser With Remaining Eye’, ‘Foxing Days Until Xmas’, ‘Chick Rock’, etc. I guess the series is the Austin Furry Dance?

Show poster by Whines.

Show poster by Whines.

Who: Founder, promoter, staff, DJ’s or performers?

I (Whines) have pushed this along with lots of cooperation from the Austin community and my partner Corbeau. EJ Otter, the head of the University of Texas furry club has gotten us much bigger spaces over at the University for events in partnership with his club. His boyfriend Rheldar does a lot of the A/V work along with myself. Edgewise has been DJ’ing for us nearly since the beginning, sharing the duties with others including Kage and Corbeau.

What: Type of party, music, price, amenities, attendance?

These are dance-focused private parties, with invitations by referral so we can have some control. The musical style is deliberately diverse; there’s always club EDM (of course) but some 70/80/90’s, electroswing, or international thrown in. DJ’s with different styles are paired up to keep it changing.

Price has always been zero, with kind community members donating snacks/drinks.

We keep blower fans pointed at the dancefoor (SO wonderful in a fursuit!) and recently added a drying tree.

Attendance is usually in the 20-30 range although it’s been up near 50.

When: How often and how long? When established?

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EXCLUSIVE: Patreon launch announcement for Culturally F’d, with a new episode and preview!

by Patch O'Furr

In July, Culturally F’d was announced here with an episode list. It’s the Furry youtube series that asks:

Where does the love of anthropomorphics come from? How far back can we dig in history and mass media to really get to the bottom of it? Why does every culture across the face of the earth have a fascination with animal-people?

title_cardNow, host Arrkay shares the latest episode plus a sneak preview made EXCLUSIVELY for dogpatch.press: 

Hey DogPatch readers! Arrkay here with a special announcement from Culturally F’d.

Firstly, we have a new video all about Fursuiting and Drag Queens. The episode features footage from Howl Toronto in July when some friends and I took over the stage in full drag. In the episode we compare the kind of performances put on by Fursuiters and by Drag Queens to find how much they have in common.

(Note: This week’s video features copyright content due to the drag performances. Because of this, the video may not play in all countries or on all devices.)

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