Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: July, 2016

Tailless, by Erin Quinn – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Tailless, by Erin Quinn
Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Books, May 2016, trade paperback $20.00 (284 [+ 1] pages).tailless-by-erin-quinn-206905

Dolores, a young tailless vixen, is a waitress at Max’s lower-class diner. When she is molested by a drunken rat customer, Max (a fatherly bear) moves in to protect her; but she can take care of herself.

“Dolores clenched her serving tray to her side and took a step forward. Her heals clacked against the wooden floor. The diner became quite. ‘I wasn’t done with ya, sweetie. How about bring that bare bottom back over here?’ She toyed with the idea of clawing his face, but her father’s words echoed between her ears: ‘Young ladies do not raise their claws.’” (p.1)

The problem is that they are in the city of ‘Lo, Lyndon, and Lyndon lost the Common War with Ulick a year ago.   King Scottsburg (lion) is furious and is executing most of his old advisors, their families, and anyone else he doesn’t like as traitors. Dolores and Max cannot afford to do anything that will bring themselves to the attention of his Royal Guard. Dolores is something of a mystery woman:

“Ever since they met Max had been curious about her. She arrived six months ago with little more than the clothes on her back. The easy option would have been to turn away a girl who had no work history, no credits to buy a meal, and a vague explanation for why she was in the city. But she was eager to help and wanted very little in return. Max couldn’t say no.” (p. 3)

It’s not giving away much of a spoiler to reveal that Dolores is really Belladonna Sinclair, daughter of a minister personally executed by King Scottsdale. While the Sinclair family was in favor before the war, Dolores/Belladonna was in a close friendship with young Tym Timmons (gray and black tabby cat). Since the war, Tym is the new Minister of the Interior, in charge of finding and executing the king’s enemies. He dares to plead for Belladonna’s pardon since she was innocent of her father’s treason, but King Scottsdale is adamant that she be publicly killed. The missing Belladonna/Dolores’ hiding is helped by the fact that nobody knows that she lost her tail in the war (“‘I just got caught up in a scuffle. It wasn’t too bad. Honestly, I’m sure whoever swung the sword wasn’t aiming for my tail.’” – p. 29), but it does make her stand out. She is now in hiding in ‘Lo, helped by her taillessness and the fatherly Max, and by James Euclid (skunk), the handsome son of her former (slain) university professor.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Mancer Series (Books 1-6): Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Ace PYRMNCR1992Pyromancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, May 1992, paperback $4.50 ([v +] 292 pages)

Aquamancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, January 1993, paperback $4.99 ([v +] 289 pages)

Geomancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, January 1994, paperback $4.99 (v +] 257 pages)

Aeromancer, by Don Callander.
NYC, Ace Books, September 1997, paperback $5.99 ([iii +] 289 pages)

Marbleheart, by Don Callander.
NYC, Ace Books, July 1998, paperback $5.99 (278 pages).

The Reluctant Knight, by Don Callander.
Cincinnati, OH, Mundania Press, June 2014, paperback $12.95 (204 pages)

pyro newCurious … The first five of these were published without a series title, between 1992 and 1998. They were reprinted by Mundania Press in 2013 as the Mancer Series, with a sixth in 2014. By Don Callander, but ISFDB says that he died before that. Donald Bruce Callander, March 23, 1930 – July 26, 2008.

What’s more, the copyright dates of the first three 2013 reprints agree with the Ace editions, 1992, 1993, and 1994. But for the last two they are 1995 and 1996, not 1997 and 1998 when the Ace editions were published, and with The Reluctant Knight © 1995 (and Marbleheart © 1996) even though it wasn’t published until 2014.

Ace Books published a lot of whimsical light fantasies in the 1990s, by authors such as Piers Anthony, John DeChancie, Esther Friesner, and Craig Shaw Gardner. Most of them have talking animals in supporting or minor roles, such as Gardner’s 1990 Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies, but none are really memorable. (Maybe Scandal, the wisecracking kitten, who is a major character in Friesner’s Majyk trilogy.) But Callander’s Marbleheart Sea Otter, a furry sidekick in the original series, was popular enough to win his own starring sequel in 1998.

0441028160.01.LZZZZZZZI won’t say that Callander’s fantasies are bad — they aren’t, really, for those who like light fantasies. But they are very – I’m not sure whether “cute” or “twee” fits them better. They are the type of fantasies that other fantasy writers make fun of; full of singing and dancing pixies and elves and fairies and friendly animals. And furniture & utensils. Here is dinnertime at Wizard’s High, a wizard’s cottage:

“Shortly they sat down to a feast and were regaled by the antics of the salt and pepper shakers and the serious, droll sayings of the Gravy Boat, who also chanted Sea songs and seamen’s ditties for them.

A pair of fire tongs did a clattery clog dance on the hearth, and Blue Teakettle herself acted as ringmistress over it all and kept the good food hot and savory, coming at just the right pace and intervals. Toward the end the entire chorus of pots and pans sang old favorites with the crocks and cutting board humming along in perfect harmony. And never once did Douglas consider how odd this little household was.” (Pyromancer, p. 10)

Douglas Brightglade, a lively and cheery lad, answers a wizard’s advertisement:

APPRENTICE WANTED

To learn the MYSTERIES and SECRETS of

WIZARDRY in the Discipline of FIRE

From a MASTER MAGICIAN, SUPREME SPELLCASTER

WONDERFUL WIZARD

AND PRESTIGIOUS PYROMANCER!

And learn Douglas does, from the wizard Flarman Flowerstalk over four novels and five years. He meets all sorts of talking animals and objects, from Flarman’s busybody, clattery Bronze Owl doorknocker, to the seagulls Cerfew, Tratto, and Trotta (she’s a girl; a Gullfriend), to the porpoises Skimmer, Leaper, and Spinner, to Oval, the Giant Sea Tortoise, to the evil Ice King’s spies:

“‘It is best we become more circumspect in our comings and goings from now. I’ve seen some suspicious crows hanging around the top of the High lately.’

‘Yes, I noticed them and told Bronze Owl about them. He said he didn’t like the cut of their pinions.’” (Pyromancer, p. 81)

Read the rest of this entry »

Waterways is why I Love the Furry Fandom

by Pup Matthias

6412912I love the Furry Fandom. I love how weird, crazy, silly, creative, and open-minded the fandom is. Just like how every other fandom says they’re weird, crazy, silly, creative, and open-minded. But in all seriousness, I do appreciate what the fandom is and what it keeps trying to do. I am indebted to the Furry Fandom. My life would not be where it is today because of it. If I had any regrets in life, one of them would be to wish I knew about the fandom earlier so I could spend more years exploring it, but that’s wishful thinking, and in all honesty, would undermine my personal growth.

The first time I’ve ever heard about the fandom was during a countdown on Animal Planet’s “Weird, True & Freaky” around 2008. Before that, I knew I loved the concept of anthropomorphic animals. Mainly through the Redwall book series and TV show, which was my only “Furry” fix growing up. I don’t really remember if there were other factors like Disney’s Robin Hood or Bugs Bunny, Crash or Ratchet, Swat Kats or Road Rovers. But I do know when Weird, True & Freaky showed Furries I wanted to know more.

I don’t remember much about the segment. I know it was talked about during a countdown of humanimals, looks at how far humans include animals into their lives. The fandom only made number 4 or 3 out of 7, and while it did bring up the topic of sex, it wasn’t the main reason it made the list. Just the whole, “Can you believe people dress up in fursuits? Look at how quirky and weird these Furries be…” blah, blah, blah. In hindsight, considering what most media depictions of Furries were like at the time, this one was fairly open. But once it aired I didn’t really look into it more. I was a senior in high school. My life was more focused about college, scholarships, and getting ready for our high school production of Grease.

It wasn’t till after I started college in the fall of 2009 that I remember the segment about Furries, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what the fandom was called. So I had to do some really weird Google searches to remember what those fluffy people in suits that pretend to be walking, talking animals called themselves. I began to find results through the web comic scene with works like Better Days, Jack, and Fur-Piled. Which in term lead to me discovering what these weirdoes called themselves and the creative sites dedicated to them. I had found the Furries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Persimmon Takes On Humanity, by Christopher Locke – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

persimPersimmon Takes On Humanity, by Christopher Locke
Los Angeles, CA, Fathoming Press, February 2015, trade paperback $14.95 (477 pages), Kindle $1.99.

Persimmon Takes On Humanity is blatantly a didactic novel. But it’s a powerful one. In its first few pages Persimmon, a happy-go-lucky raccoon; Scraps, Persimmon’s younger brother; her reluctant best friend Derpoke the opossum; and Rawly, an arrogant rival raccoon dare each other to venture from the safety of Oak Tree Forest to cross the river to the human land, from which no raccoon has ever returned.

“‘Having fun?’ Rawly, an imposing raccoon, stands over them on his hind legs asserting his dominance. He glares at the playful pals. Derpoke goes limp with fear.

Persimmon lets go of Derpoke and leisurely rolls onto her side to face Rawly. ‘Well, well, well, if it isn’t Grumpykins.’

‘Grumpy?!’ Rawly replies, incensed. ‘How about rightfully annoyed that you’re in my territory – again? You think you can just gallivant around all over my trees?’

‘The forest is big enough for all of use to share,’ Persimmon responds defiantly. ‘I’m not intimidated by the silly rules you males force on everyone around you by rubbing your butts on everything.’

[…]

‘The most ridiculous thing about you jumping between those trees is that you were doing it to show off to your puny brother and this cowardly opossum.’

Persimmon pops up, indignant. ‘They both have more heart than all of the other raccoons combined. Besides, I did it to prove to myself that it could be done – and maybe to taste the thrill of it.’

‘Huh. Well, if you warriors are so brave, then why don’t you venture past Oak Tree Forest on the other side of the river?’ Rawly provokes.

‘You’re absurd,’ Persimmon jeers. ‘As if you’re courageous enough to venture there. No raccoon has ever gone past that point and lived to tell the tale.’” (pgs. 4-5)

Read the rest of this entry »

Frolic ‘the original furry nightclub’ to lose historic venue – community responds.

by Patch O'Furr

The future is as dim as the lighting at The Stud, one of San Francisco’s most loved dive/gay bars.  The property is being swept up in a wave of real estate speculation and gentrification that shows no sign of ebbing.  Some luminaries of local culture are just treading water, while many are sinking under. They just can’t afford to live in their own city any more.

One by one, the lights of San Francisco night life are going out.  Now the Stud is set to close.

On every second Saturday each month, furries flock there for Frolic dance party.  It’s the premiere event for their thriving local scene.  The venue loves furries as much as they love each other, so Frolic has been steadily supported since 2010. Their success bore a litter of furry club events across North America that look up to it for inspiration, from Foxtrot in Denver, to Suit-Up Saturday in Minneapolis.

Calling it “the Original” furry dance party may be debatable (credit may be due for a few rave-type events outside of North America) – but there’s no debating its influence.  It will be very sad if Frolic loses it’s home.

It’s a local story, but in spirit, it touches furries anywhere who love to dance and have their own paw-hold in the nightlife.  Having their own established club doesn’t happen easily for an isolated niche of maligned yet super loveable young people.  Frolic set the bar high for that.  It isn’t your average family-friendly daytime convention – its power comes after dark.  Talking animal-people look and feel better to dance with in the magical murk of a club from an alternate fantasy dimension.  Have a drink and hug one for an experience better than drugs. Or pick one up.  Say: “knock knock” – “who’s there”? – “knot me…” Read the rest of this entry »

The Lottery – Furry, by Karen Ranney – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

41vGf3jdd5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Lottery – Furry, by Karen Ranney
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, April 2016, trade paperback $9.95 (232 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This book seems to have drifted in to this furry review site by mistake. Despite its title, and its label as Book 1 of The Furry Chronicles trilogy, it’s a werewolf novel – or more precisely a woman’s paranormal romance novel.

That’s probably natural since Karen Ranney is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of women’s romances; not a furry author. In fact, the three volumes of The Furry Chronicles are a spinoff of Ranney’s previous The Montgomery Chronicles. “You’ll see what happens to Opie, meet Antonia, and follow Torrance’s adventures as well.” (Ranney’s website)

Torrance Boyd is a young junior vet working at Alamo Veterinary Services LLC in San Antonio. She’s a soft touch for all of the stray dogs that an elderly do-gooder finds and brings in there. Torrance can’t bring herself to throw them out again, so she personally pays for heartworm testing, flea dipping, and other medical expenses; which keeps her perpetually broke.

She has another problem:

“I didn’t know, for certain, that dogs shared a communicative bond, but as a species I wasn’t far removed from them. You see, I’m a Were. Ever since my younger brother asked me if that meant we were weird I’ve called myself a Furry, a label that doesn’t endear me to either my family or my friends. At least, those who knew what I was.

Only another Were could recognize me, but even then, we didn’t go around acknowledging each other in public. In other words, we don’t sniff each other. We don’t even venture near the nether regions in our four legged form. Can you imagine meeting the eyes of someone whose butt you just checked out when he was furry?” (p. 5)

Read the rest of this entry »