The Student, Vol. 1, by Joe Sherman – Book Review by Fred Patten
by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Student, vol. 1, by Joe Sherman
Covington, OH, Joe Sherman publishing, May 2017, trade paperback, $15.95 (284 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $2.99.
Readers had better consider this to have a Sex Lovers Only rating.
The date is 2290, fifteen years after the Kaspersky foundation developed the first successful human-animal person. That was a dog-man they named Furton Kaspersky. This was almost unnoticed by the public because of the simultaneous announcement that humans had been accepted into the Galactic Trade Federation. But as soon as the excitement over that died down, there was plenty of social questioning and panic over letting “animal people” into society. However, by the 23rd century there was enough acceptance of the concept of intelligent non-humans that the anthropomorphic animals couldn’t be suppressed. A compromise was reached: to construct a domed city for the scientists and the hybrids where the research could be continued “in safety”, until the general public was convinced that the animal people were safe. The scientists ensured that the steel-&-glass-domed city, also dubbed Furton, would not become a slum. Furton was built twelve years ago.
Teenager Chris Tailor is the first human to be accepted into Furton University (although its professors are humans). Chris has always been fascinated by the hybrids, and he had been sending questions to the Kaspersky foundation via computer for a decade. The foundation had usually ignored him; but apparently someone has recently decided to let a human into the animal student body as a social experiment, and Chris’ pro-hybrid interest plus his genetics major has made him stand out. Chris is incredulous but delighted to be invited inside the domed city to become a student at Furton University.
This is described in the short Introduction and first chapter. Sherman has an unusual style of huge paragraphs with justified margins, but the reader quickly gets used to them. Here he meets one of the Kaspersky professors during a subway ride inside the dome to the University:
“‘I am Professor Meyers,” The scientist introduced himself as he studied the nervous young man. ‘You’re wearing generics. New to the city I presume?’ he observed in a gravelly voice. ‘I just got into the city less than an hour ago. I’m a new student at the University,’ Chris confirmed with a nod, grinning foolishly in his excitement. ‘Ah, I’m an instructor there myself. What is your major?’ Professor Meyers inquired as he brightened up slightly. ‘Genetics… I’ve been fascinated by the hybrids ever since I watched the news feed of their first creation. I’ve been looking forward to coming here for years to learn how they are created,’ Chris answered proudly. ‘Well then, I suppose I’ll see you in my class. Genetic engineering and hybrid biology are the courses of study, which are my responsibility,’ Professor Meyers announced once he recovered from the surprising answer. He lifted and cocked his head a bit as a tone sounded down the subway tunnel. After a moment, the recorded voice signaled the arrival of the next train. Well here we are. Do you know where you’re headed? I can show you to the dormitories once we arrive at the University, if you’d like,’ he offered.” (p. 14)
This is actually less than half the paragraph, which fills the rest of page 14 and almost all of page 15. It’s all smooth writing, but its presentation is a bit startling at first.
Chris finds that his dorm roommate is Marcus, a six-foot walking, talking German shepherd. Two of the first things he observes is that all of the hybrid students show their teeth in open human smiles and grins, whether they have sharp carnivore fangs or bucktoothed rodent teeth, and the students themselves refer to each other as Furs, not hybrids. (Sherman is careless whether Furs is capitalized or lower-case. Sometimes it is both within the same sentence.) Chris’ quick following suit wins himself acceptance.
Sherman colorfully describes the Furs. They are much more than funny animals:
“As they came up on another fur walking the opposite direction Chris did his best not to stare. He had no doubt this one was a female and quite short. He didn’t believe she could be any more than four feet tall. He thought she had an interesting bounce in her step. He liked the way her long floppy ears sprouting from her head would slightly curl forward with each bounce. She was skinny, but had wide, fuzzy white cheeks separated by a pink, button nose and two oddly cute buckteeth. Chris knew this was clearly a rabbit hybrid despite the fact that he hadn’t heard of or seen any rabbit hybrids previously.” (pgs. 17-18)
Chris also discovers within the first week that the Furs, while observing human modesty in public, especially in front of their Kaspersky professors, ignore it when they are alone – and Chris is now one of them. There is almost no privacy in his & Marcus’ dorm room. “Besides, Furs aren’t as insecure as most humans seem to be. Privacy doesn’t mean a lot to us,’ he [Marcus] explained with a mischievous grin.” (p. 19) Marcus goes naked and openly masturbates to Fur pornography. He is fascinated by Chris’ “morning wood”, since the male animals don’t have that in their biology.
As soon as Marcus is convinced of Chris’ pro-Fur sincerity, he introduces him to the Club, the Furs’ private orgy room. Most of the Furs take advantage of the fact that all Furs are sterile:
“‘Unfortunately [Profssor Meyers explains], all hybrids created to date, male or female, have proven completely sterile, which readers them incapable of having children of their own. We have not been able to discover the reason for this sterility despite our greatest efforts. Therefore, we have been unable to correct it.’” (pgs. 24-25)
So all the Furs can fuck without worrying about pregnancy. This is definitely NSFW action, including attention to how the Furs are matched up by different sizes from horse to mouse, and different sexual equipment – the canines’ knots, the felines’ barbed penises, and so on. Some like it rough; others don’t. Chris has already met many of the students in his classes – Maya (rabbit), Leah (wolf), Kyra (tigress), Blake (horse) — and he is both shocked and thrilled to see them here naked and enthusiastically going at it. He can’t wait to join the fun.
Consider pages 37 to 90 all hard-core NSFW action. On page 91 the story starts moving forward again:
“‘Chris… Marcus… Could I have a moment of your time,’ Professor Meyers called as he caught the two young men nearly bolting down the hall from their class [in a hurry to get to the Club]. ‘Yeah, sure,’ Marcus replied quickly after he and Chris nearly skidded to a halt. ‘The dean of students and I would like to have a few minutes of your time,’ Professor Meyers explained awkwardly. ‘What’s up?’ Marcus questioned more suspiciously. ‘It involves the new student or special guest. That is all I can say until we reach the dean’s office,’ Professor Meyers replied nervously before he began to lead the young men to the dean’s office.” (p. 92)
The University is about to get its first extraterrestrial student:
“‘… like I was telling Blake [the equine student] here, I… or the University needs your assistance,’ the dean repeated before he returned to his seat behind his desk. ‘The new student is humanoid, but not of earth origin. He is from the Gemini solar system. He is one of the Commonwealth, as they call themselves. He will be the first alien life form to attend an earth University and it will happen right here at Furton. That is why I have asked the three of you here. I want the three of you to make sure we extend every hospitality we have to offer to ensure he is comfortable,’ the dean explained as he struggled to contain his excitement.” (p. 93)
It turns out that the Commonwealth’s and the Galactic Trade Federation’s technology far exceeds Earth’s, so it is vitally important to not only the University but to all Earth to make a good impression. The Commonwealth has been very reclusive up to now, so the University – specifically, Professor Meyers, Chris, Marcus the German shepherd, and Blake the horse – don’t even know what the new student looks like except that he can live in the University’s environment and he is “diminutive”. Aside from the Professor’s problems in making him welcome to the University, the three students wonder how he will react to the open Fur sex?
And with that, less than 100 pages into the 284-page novel, this review is ending. Anything more would be a spoiler. The Student, vol. 1 (cover by Ailie MacKenzie) is well-written, both as furry fiction and as science-fiction. It is also screamingly erotic, reveling in graphic animalistic sex and sticky bodily fluids – and by “animalistic” you’d better believe that the word is used both figuratively and literally.
This volume 1 comes to a definite conclusion, but Sherman says there will be two more volumes to make a trilogy.
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