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Month: June, 2017

The Mask of Bone, by Brian Panthera – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Mask of Bone, by Brian Panthera
Bloomington, IN, iUniverse, November 2016, trade paperback $20.99 (xvii + 331 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The Mask of Bone – which is only Book 1 of the Otherworlds saga – is High Fantasy. Really High Fantasy, replete with lots of footnotes. The first footnote is: “To reduce confusion, calendar dates in the text will use the Universal Calendar (UC), based on the Central Timekeeping System used by the kitsune of the dimension of Escher. 11973 UC corresponds to roughly 2001 A.D. in the Gregorian Calendar used in most dimensional variations of Earth, and 1507 KI in the calendar on most of Tayrik, which dates back to […]” Does that reduce confusion? The world of Tayrik is where the action begins.

“Long ago, the mask of bone was shattered, its bearer slain, the pieces stolen. They were scattered through the dimensions to prevent its reassembly.” (blurb) Xolotl, the Aztec guide to the dead, wants the Mask reassembled, and he drafts Pflarrian to do it. Pflarrian Collifox is a student at the Mirial’s Rock Academy of Magic (and Mayhem) on Tayrik who is slowly turning into a fox. He looks like a gaunt human with “a long, bushy red tail sticking through a hole in his jeans, and a pair of large, pointy, red, furry, fox ears sticking up from under a shock of long reddish-brown hair that was usually pulled back in a rough ponytail.” (p. ix)   Professor Verdigris, who is a dragon, has assigned Pflarrian to do something entirely different, but Xolotl waylays him and persuades him to search the dimensions for the pieces of the Mask before he finishes turning into a fox. Got all that?

Oh, and Pflarr’s girlfriend Marani is a sometimes-impulsive anthro jaguaress:

“She paused in the kitchen just long enough to wash Pflarrian’s blood from her claws before returning to bed.” (p. 78)

Despite The Mask of Bone’s being set in a supposedly predominantly human dimension, there are more anthropomorphic animals than humans in this novel; including gods taking on anthro animal forms:

“It was here, finally, that the goddess [Isis] found the one she had come here to speak with. He stood slightly stooped over as he leaned on the edge of a great carved-marble reflecting pool, gazing at something only he could see. Her quarry [Xolotl] was an impressive sight. Tall and broad-shouldered, he was a humanoid canine like the goddess’s current form, but where she had taken the form of a jackal, he bore the form and shape of heavier-set dog-being, looking more like a rough-coat collie. His fur was a dark, almost metallic bronze in most places, accented here and there with white and bone-colored highlights. Fine robes fit for an emperor draped his body, glowing with the colors of the setting sun. They were resplendent in rich tones of orange and red. His head was adorned with a heavy-looking gold crown of sorts, bedecked with an array of long, brightly colored feathers. They swept back from just behind his canine ears to a point almost two feet over his head. Matching golden bracelets rode his wrists. A chunky, heavy necklace formed of square blocks of gold graced his neck and shoulders, barely visible through the thick ruff of fur about his neck.” (p. xiv)

I’ve quoted that at length to give you a taste of Panthera’s opulent writing style. The book is full of furry references. Isis has issues with cat-headed Bastet. One of a college professor’s assistants is Kalya, an anthro black-footed ferret. Someone mentions getting in a shipment of citrus fruits from the Felinid Empire. “It [a doorknock] was answered by a diminutive female mouse in pale blue student’s robes. She looked up at Pflarrian, who towered a good two feet over her, and blinked in surprise.” (p. 55) “The immortal had rented a private room at the Sign of the Nine Tails, a kitsune-run restaurant of some renown near Temple Road.” (p. 83) “The wide variety of beings that inhabited the city caught the wolf’s attention. Humans, felines, canines, something with long, furless, pointed ears that Dashell figured must have been an elf, and a myriad variety of others!” (p. 49) Pflarr’s turning into a fox is constantly kept before the reader: “With a resigned sigh, Pflarrian knelt on the stone floor, making sure not to kneel on his own tail.” (p. 7)

To cut to the admittedly-confusing plot, the first page of the story (as distinct from the 17-page Prologue) begins:

“Dashell awoke to pain. It filled his head to the tips of his fuzzy black ears, ran down his arms and legs, and caused his furry wolf’s tail to twitch in irritation. It made him feel is if someone had been trying to use him as a pincushion.

In other words, he had a hangover.” (p. 1)

Dashell Grauvolf, an alternating black-&-white-furred anthro wolf, is also a college student (computer sciences major) in his dimension. He is kidnapped by a wannabe-demonic mad scientist in Pflarrian’s dimension, escapes before he can be experimented upon (MUHAHAHA!), and is rescued (kind of) by Pflarrian (they think by coincidence, but not really).

Xolotl, who has been scrying what is happening to Dashell (read the book to learn why), has his attention drawn to Pflarrian. He is shocked to find that the same spell that is turning Pflarrian into a fox has made him Xolotl’s champion, even if no one is aware of it. So he appears to Pflarrian to persuade him to search the dimensions for the pieces of the Mask of Bone. But Pflarr doesn’t go alone! He brings Dashell, Marani, and her big (over 8 feet tall) sister Hakarra with him.

They set sail for the Felinid Empire (and promptly get into a sea battle with anthro animal pirates) on page 107. The rest of the 331-page novel is Pflarr’s & Dashell’s adventures looking for the pieces of the Mask of Bone. They don’t find them yet. To be continued in Otherworlds, Book 2: The Fated Ones.

The Mask of Bone (cover imagery © Thinkstock) is good fun, especially if you like a lot of transformations. Be prepared for one of the characters (a wolf) to have a thick German accent:

“She sighed. ‘I vill explain later, D’shal. Meanvile, ve haf to make sure neizzer Faylarrian nor Zaul do anyzing rash, ja?’” (p. 64)

Fred Patten

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What’s Yiffin’? – June 2017 edition of syndicated furry news.

by André Kon

Can you believe it’s been five months since What’s Yiffin’ was picked up by Dogpatch Press? We can’t; it still feels like we’re just getting started here every month even though this feature is now a regular thing (and we’ve been running this series since 2015). It’s all about having confidence really, and this will make a nice segue into one of our stories because it’s exactly that. No, wait that’s “Confurence”. Anyway we’ve got your usual lineup this month: something gets cancelled, someone phones in a bomb threat somewhere, and Dracokon complains about the current state of the fandom. Get out your officially licensed What’s Yiffin’ bingo cards and play along because it’s time to start this article proper.

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Celebrity Dish, by M. R. Anglin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Celebrity Dish, by M. R. Anglin
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, March 2017, trade paperback $4.99 (100 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $1.99.

M. R. Anglin has written five previous books in her Silver Foxes series. The foxes with metallic, silvery fur who controlled electricity had made themselves and their nation of Expermia the masters of the world of Clorth. 1,500 years ago the other nations of Clorth joined together in invading Expermia and killing all the silver foxes. They have been extinct until now. J. R. Dunsworth (wolf), a criminal with a soft heart, rescues two orphaned fox kits and raises them as his own children. When Xenatha (Xena), a gray fox, approaches puberty, her fur begins to turn silvery and she develops electrical powers that she can’t control. The first four Silver Foxes novels tells what happens to Xena; her younger sister Kathra; their foster father J. R.; Hunter, the boyfriend Xena finds; and the villains who plot to kill the others and control Xena’s powers for themselves.

Book 5 is the small 79-page Interlude, and it does seem like an interlude in the series. J.R. takes the others to hide on the Isle de Losierres, the most exclusive and richest vacation resort on Clorth. He hadn’t revealed that the wolf businesswoman who runs the Isle is his long-suffering sister Chloe. Xena and the others finally have a chance to relax and bond as a family. Xena’s adolescent foster cousin Mira (wolf) introduces her to her friends (Shandra, a tigress, Dori, a chameleon, and Katie, a raccoon), and Xena, still hiding her silver fox nature, begins to live as a normal teen. Xena’s enemies search for her, apparently in vain.

Celebrity Dish, the sixth Silver Foxes book, is a second interlude. Jessica, the hottest pop superstar on Clorth, comes to the Isle de Losierres for a vacation and to give a concert. Jessica is a bird, but what kind is a mystery and part of her mystique – she constantly appears in new costumes to keep everyone guessing.

“One was a tan mongoose [her manager] and the other a bird of … indeterminate species. She had the yellow feathers of a canary, but her tail had the shape of an ostrich’s. Those tail feathers filled the seat so that the mongoose sat tilted toward the door. The feathers on her head curled and swirled around her face, and a crest of three feathers extended beyond them. She had the curved beak of a red-tailed hawk. Her arms – wings, really – rested on her lap. She wore a red, asymmetrical dress that grazed her upper thigh. The dress was so short that Alex, the mongoose, feared that any movement would show of [sic.] her … “treasures” … so he insisted she wear black tights underneath.” (p. 14)

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Furry Nights movie review – a crowd pleaser for lovers of campy indie horror.

by Patch O'Furr

Do you love trash like I do?  In the 1970’s, exploitation movies became a thing where trash and sleaze were loveable qualities. They had fun doing stuff the mainstream wouldn’t do.  Along with the bad, came good access for audiences that Hollywood didn’t represent, like minorities and subcultures.  Now “Fursploitation” is creeping into popular awareness. I characterize it that way if it portrays “furries” with off-the-rack, poorly fitting mascot costumes and orgy jokes.  That stuff may not play well with furries, but it can.  They’ll probably dislike it if it has low effort at research, or feels carelessly opportunistic or mean, but it helps to be indie and share inside references to laugh together. A success would be CollegeHumor’s “Furry Force”, which the fandom took with good humor.

Furry Nights is an indie horror movie directed by J. Zachary.  It premiered in late 2016 with a theater show in Atlanta. I heard from several very happy furry watchers who attended.  Then Zachary asked me to tell you about it.

Furry Nights is now available on iTunes. Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

“What begins as a carefree weekend amongst a group of camping teens soon takes a strange turn when the gang discovers they are not alone in the forest.  FURRIES have rooted camp just across the nearby lake.  Not worried about the “party animals,” the kids sleep soundly that night, only to be woken by a real life horror — A BEAR!  One of the teens shoots and kills the grizzly monster, but quickly realizes the tragic truth — HE HAS SHOT A FURRY . . . Now, the maniacal furries will stop at nothing to make them pay . . .

CAN THE TEENS SURVIVE THE REVENGE OF THE FURRIES?!”

@KaiWulf said: “Indy film, very campy. We had a good laugh.” And here’s another happy watcher.

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Fursuit theft in San Francisco leads to a lion hunt.

by Patch O'Furr

Meet Clumzy Lion from Toronto. He was one of 5,138 furries who came to Biggest Little Fur Con in Reno on June 1-4, 2017. His trip included a night in San Francisco’s popular Fisherman’s Wharf area before flying home.  That’s where he lost his head.  Clumzy’s car was broken into, and they even took his passport so he couldn’t fly.  Being robbed and stuck is much worse than just a sad feline.

Remember a similar fursuit theft that made local news by SFist and Broke-Ass Stuart? More about that below. They’re linked in case they can help.

(Update: thanks to @SFist for sharing the story!)

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Dyeing To Be With You, by Sisco Polaris – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Dyeing To Be With You, by Sisco Polaris. Illustrated by Edesk.
North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, December 2015, trade paperback $12.00 (193 pages), Kindle $4.00.

Dyeing To Be With You is a teenage m/m romance, full of adolescent angst. Lucas, just entering Calder High at 14 years old, was the only polar bear there. The other students, all black bears, bullied him viciously, particularly the sadistic Kalvin. Lucas was a bit of a crybaby, so he took it more emotionally than he should have. He was very happy when his father was transferred to Riker’s Bay and his family left Calder.

But now his father has been transferred back to Calder, and Lucas faces returning to Calder High and its bullies for his final year of high school. He’s grown a lot while he was away – he’s 17 and nearly seven feet tall now — but he’s still emotionally weak, too dependent on his older sister Anna.

“Anna’s baby brother – that’s who he had been all his life. Not that it was a bad thing to have a big sister looking out for him. She had always helped him when he needed it. Of course, she had gotten him into a lot of trouble, too. A baby brother was a fine scapegoat when you work together to steal cookies, or (more lately) when you are sneaking out to go on a date, and you need someone to cover for you with your parents.” (p. 13)

When Anna gets a trainee job at a beauty salon, Lucas gets the wild idea of dyeing his fur and passing as a black bear during his final high school year. Anna scoffs at first, then takes it as a challenge.

‘Yeah sure, a new seven foot tall black bear. Besides, you wouldn’t just need black.’ In spite of herself, the female bear’s mind was working it over. ‘They have light brown on their muzzles.’

‘Well, I’m sure you have light brown dye at the salon,’ the male bear replied, a sly smile coming to his face. It was a crazy, insane idea, and he knew it, but it could work. After all, it was just a year, and then he would be out. He could let the dye fade out naturally, or even take a dip in some dye removal solution.” (p. 13)

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Opinion: It doesn’t matter if adult art is more popular than clean art.

by Patch O'Furr

“the truth” – @tinydeerguy

Tinydeerguy’s tweet shows his character being unhappy that being tame is less popular than being sexy. It has thousands of likes and the comments agree. They look down on this situation, or admit it’s true by asking him to take it all off.

Tinydeerguy’s FA gallery demonstrates it with view numbers.  The first page has many tame cartoons with a range of cute stories, but about one in eight are labeled “oh look porn”, “yay another porn,” etc.  They don’t tease, they get right to the point – dicks! Art in the dirty 1/8 gets twice as many views.

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