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Category: Books

Black Friday (The Valens Legacy), by Jan Stryvant – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Black Friday, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, September 2017, trade paperback, $9.99 (226         pages, Kindle $3.95.

Perfect Strangers, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, September 2017, trade paperback, $9.99 (240 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Over Our Heads, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2017, trade paperback, $10.99 (252 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Head Down, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2017, trade paperback, $10.99 (250 pages), Kindle $3.99.

When It Falls, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, January 2018, trade paperback, $10.99 (284 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Stand On It, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, January 2018, trade paperback, $10.99 (256 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The first sentence of Black Friday is, “Sean looked both ways as he started across the street, not that there was much traffic during the day here at the University of Nevada, Reno campus this late in the day.” The third sentence is, “Mid-terms had just finished and he was pretty happy with his grades this semester, he’d finally gotten the hang of this whole ‘college’ thing, so what if it had taken him nearly three years!” Sean may be a college student, but I’ll bet he hasn’t been taking any writing courses.

Black Friday is the first novel in the six-volume The Valens Legacy. It is one of the five novels on the 2017 Ursa Major Awards ballot for Best Anthropomorphic Novel of the Year. It has 506(!) customer reviews currently on Amazon (most books are lucky to get 10 customer reviews), mostly five-star and 4-star reviews, although I agree more with the first cited, a two-star review: “Entirely avoidable grammatical mistakes, misuse of terms and DEAR LORD the treatment of adjectives!”

The other four Ursa Major finalists for Best Novel are Always Gray in Winter by Mark J. Engels, Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending by Mary E. Lowd, Kismet by Watts Martin, and The Wayward Astronomer by Geoffrey Thomas. I have seen all four of these discussed on furry-fandom websites. I have not seen any indication that anyone in furry fandom has been reading Black Friday. Where did its nominations come from?

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Furry founder Fred Patten saw more partying, less fandom in 2018 with the Ursa Major Awards.

by Patch O'Furr

Fred Patten started off with a message to Patch O’Furr:

This is a rant, as much as anything.  I wrote, as Secretary of the ALAA (AKA the Ursa Major Awards) to the AnthrOhio Committee, to invite it to host next year’s award presentation ceremony.  AnthrOhio is the new name of former Morphicon in Columbus, Ohio. They presented the Ursa Majors in 2008, 2011, and 2015.

I got a very nice reply from Danny Travis, this year’s Director of Programming for AnthrOhio.  He thinks it’s a great idea and has agreed.  But his reply implies that he’s never heard of the Ursa Major Awards, and that he was unaware that they have been presented at Morphicon/AnthrOhio in the past.

This makes me wonder how many of today’s furry conventions are being organized by people who are mainly interested in putting on a big party with fursuits, and little interest or knowledge in furry fandom beyond their own convention, including their own con’s history.  Some like Anthrocon with Dr. Sam Conway and CaliFur with Rod O’Riley (and any con with staffers who have been around for a while) know what’s going on. But how many are being organized by young people who only use the trappings of furry fandom to have a good time?

You have been following not only the conventions but a lot of the smaller furry parties and raves.  Do you get the impression that most attendees are more interested in partying then other active fandom?

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Zoion, a magazine to promote furry art, is launching on Kickstarter.

by Patch O'Furr

Postcards handed out at Furry Weekend Atlanta

On Kickstarter: an Anthropomorphic Art Magazine is being launched by Zoion Media and its creator Pulsar. (It ends on April 29, so don’t wait to support.)

Our goal is to create a contemporary, well designed, image-driven magazine focusing on clean, evocative, highly artistic, well developed and well executed anthropomorphic art and themes. We want to make something the average furry is proud to show their non-furry friends to give them an idea of what furry art is all about.

Pulsar talked about inspiration for a print magazine to promote furry fandom creators and artists:

“I’ve always been an artist and I read a lot on contemporary fine art. I remember standing in the bookstore browsing Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose and thinking, ‘there needs to be something just like this for furry art’.”

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Crafter’s Passion, by Kris Schnee – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Crafter’s Passion by Kris Schnee.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, March 2018, trade paperback, $7.99 (247 pages).

This actually shouldn’t be reviewed here because it’s not anthropomorphic. But it’s in Kris Schnee’s Thousand Tales series, and the previous four books all had protagonists who became fantasy animals: a griffin, a squirrel-girl, a coyote-man, and a pegasus. If you’re a Thousand Tales fan, you’ll want to read it despite its protagonist remaining human.

Schnee’s Thousand Tales books aren’t meant to be furry fiction, but science-fiction. Schnee postulates that by 2038, Artificial Intelligences have become so advanced/powerful that when a new one code-named Ludo is put in charge of the Thousand Tales interactive game, and programmed to make sure its players “have fun”, Ludo does everything to ensure that they have fun – including giving them the choice of abandoning their human bodies and living in Thousand Tales permanently, as the creature of their choice.

The process involves the scanning of their brains (an expensive process that results in the death of their human bodies) and the transfer of their minds to Ludo’s control within its Thousand Tales universe. Most governments (much more regimented than today) oppose this. But it involves a person’s free choice, and some experts argue that the process involves the successful transferral of the person into a new body without being killed.

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Cold Clay: A Murder Mystery by Juneau Black – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Cold Clay: A Murder Mystery by Juneau Black.
Philadelphia, PA, Hammer & Birch, November 2017, trade paperback, $12.95 (198 {+ 1] pages), Kindle $4.99.

This sequel to Shady Hollow: A Murder Mystery, described as “a Murder, She Wrote with animals”, is a worthy followup to it. Again the cast is:

Vera Vixen: This cunning, foxy reporter has a nose for trouble and a desire to find out the truth, no matter where the path leads.

Deputy Orville Braun: This large brown bear is the more hardworking half of the Shady Hollow constabulary. He works by the book. But his book has half the pages ripped out.

Joe Elkin: This genial giant of a moose runs the town coffee shop – the local gathering spot. If gossip is spoken, Joe has heard it, but this time, he is the gossip.”

And too many others to list here. Cold Clay takes place several months after the events in Shady Hollow.   The animal inhabitants of the village of Shady Hollow are settling back into their peaceful routine – newspaper reporter Vera Vixen might call it boring – when the rabbit farm workers of Cold Clay Orchards who are transplanting an apple tree find the skeleton of a moose buried beneath it.

The news soon spreads, and all thoughts turn to the popular moose proprietor of Joe’s Mug, Shady Hollow’s coffee shop. Joe’s wife Julia disappeared eleven years ago. She was flighty and hadn’t wanted to stay in what she considered a nowheresville, so when she vanished, leaving Joe with their baby son, everyone assumed that she had walked out on them. But a moose’s skeleton, which is soon determined to be the missing Julia’s, and that she was murdered, sets all Shady Hollow talking again. There’s not really any evidence against Joe, but there isn’t against anyone else, either.

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“At Home With The Furries” book almost at publishing goal, needs a boost in the last few days!

by Patch O'Furr

Tom Broadbent has been staging creative fursuit photography for many years. I covered him in: Five pro photographers advancing the art of furry documentary. For each I named a signature approach, and to me, Tom excels at “whimsy”. His carefully chosen fantasy scenes show a depth of intrigue and storytelling beyond conventional scenes. Tom takes great care with relationships with his subjects. I think he’s the ideal photographer that furries could ask for.

That’s why I’m rushing out a post on short notice to urge support for his project. Tom has a dream to showcase furry subjects in a photo book, a beautiful archival object. It’s a few days from the Kickstarter deadline, and of course the funding is all or nothing.

There are 124 backers at 70% of the goal – can it get all the way to 100%?

We’ll know on April 4. I usually avoid covering crowdfunding – so this is an unusual request.

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The Furry Library Archive Presents: Rabbit Valley’s February Lootbox

by Summercat

Thanks to Summercat for this guest post.

Rabbit Valley is the oldest fandom publisher and one of the “Big Three” (with Furplanet and Sofawolf.) It’s been covered here in Furry Publishers – A Resource for Artists and Authors, and: The State of Furry Publishing – Fred Patten gives the inside story of eight groups.

The folk at Rabbit Valley also distribute books and comics by others. A fun way to try some is a “Buy It By The Box” deal: a pre-packaged box of merchandise pulled from back stock for just $25 (plus shipping). I’ve found it contains comics, books, dvds, cds, and one time even a shirt, a combined value of more than $25 when they packed the box.

Once again, I’m sharing what I’ve found in the The Box.  It’s about the only form of gambling I let myself enjoy, and as Rabbit Valley has been in the Furry mail-order business since 1987, they’ve got quite an interested selection of things in here! So what does the box look like?

In the background you can see I shop at Costco

Now admittedly, Rabbit Valley does open up the box and consolidate the contents with the rest of your order. So they see what’s in the box when they ship it to you, but it also saves on shipping and the number of suspicious packages being left on your doorstep by a rabbit when it’s not even Easter.

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The Fuzzy Princess, Vol. 2, by Charles Brubaker – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

The Fuzzy Princess, vol. 2, by Charles Brubaker. Illustrated.
Martin, TN, Smallbug Press, February 2018, trade paperback, $10.99 (175 pages).

The Fuzzy Princess, volume 1, was reviewed here last September. These are the adventures of interstellar Princess Katrina of St. Paws and her bat (Chiro) and bear (Kuma) escorts, and the humans on Earth that she moves in with (Jackson, a boy wizard, & his older sister Jordan) and their friends (highschooler Gladdie, her little sister Tara, and Rick). Kat and her companions come to Earth in a flying box (cats love boxes) that has her large interdimensional room inside it. Kat has a detachable tail that can be magically turned into anything. Kat, Chiro, and Kuma use magic/alien technology to make other people see them as normal humans. Kat’s ongoing adversary is Krisa, a rat spy from Mousechester who is usually locked inside a birdcage.

The Fuzzy Princess is Charles Brubaker’s Internet humorous comic strip, in color (this reprint volume is only in black-&-white), updated three times a week. It’s not gag-a-day; there is an ongoing story line.

But! Brubaker also publishes The Fuzzy Princess as a series of independent comic books from 24 to 36 pages, printed on demand by IndyPlanet in Orlando, Florida. This volume 2 reprints the comics from #8 to #11, with some new material. These also appear on the Monday-Wednesday-Friday online strip.

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Reborn, by J. F. R. Coates – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Reborn, by J. F. R. Coates
Capalaba, Qld., Australia,, Jaffa Books, October 2016, paperback, $15.00 (271 pages), Kindle $4.26.

“‘Jesus fucking Christ, I have a tail.’” (p. 49)

You can tell from that sentence that the speaker is not a furry fan. It’s Captain Rhys Griffiths, a rising naval officer of the Terran Interplanetary Empire; soon to be promoted to one of the youngest Admirals of the TIE. Or he was, until a transporter accident puts his mind into the body of a lowly, giggly starat.

The starats are described earlier in Reborn:

“Rhys glanced back to find the reason for his [Cardinal Erik’s] reaction; one of the starats was approaching. Starats were a breed of artificial creatures, created in a laboratory over two hundred and fifty years ago. They were still the pinnacle of genetic engineering. Pressure from the Vatican had led to all genetic research laboratories closed down shortly after the creation of the starats. They had been created from a concoction of many different animals’ DNA, so many that even their creators had lost track. The result had been a short, furry humanoid of reasonable intelligence and capable of speech, mostly resembling a stoat or weasel. They had been bred to be subservient and weak-willed. As a consequence they were perfect at what they had been designed for: namely to serve humans in whatever way they could.” (p. 16)

Rhys spends a couple of weeks wallowing in drunken self-pity at his transformation before coming out of his funk:

“Neglecting to take a glass, Rhys chose to drink straight from the bottle instead, but he failed to take into account the design of his new mouth. Crimson liquid poured from the side of his muzzle, spilling on to his cheeks and shoulders, staining his overalls red. Suppressing an irate growl, Rhys tried again with greater care, taking just a small swig from the neck of the bottle. Still the wine wetted the fur on his cheeks, but more of it reached the back of his throat.” (pgs. 56-57)

He finds, needless to say, that the starats are much more intelligent than anyone in the TIE has realized. Once he accepts that he is now a starat –

“His humanity was fading away to nothing. Was there anything left of Captain Rhys Griffiths, the human? Did he even care anymore? For sure, there were times he wished he didn’t have to put up with the revolting discrimination starats faced, but were he offered the opportunity to become human once more, he was no longer convinced he would take it.” (p. 207)

– he leads them in their fight for equality in the Empire.

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What the Fox?!: Fred Patten’s Latest Anthology

by Pup Matthias

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

What the Fox?!, edited by Fred Patten, will be published by Thurston Howl Publications on March 3, 2018. The book can be pre-ordered from Thurston Howl Publications. It will be for sale on the THP online catalogue afterwards.

What the Fox?! is an anthology of 21 original short stories and two reprints, of anthropomorphic animals in humorous situations. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of fantasy humor. Each story has an illustration by Tabsley (the cover artist) or Jeqon.

The anthology is available in two editions. The regular edition is in trade paperback, and the illustrations are in black-&-white and grayscale. The deluxe edition is in hardcover and the illustrations are in full color. Each edition has a different cover.

From a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal deliveryperson turned into a werechihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, a dog movie screenwriter, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus: each author’s favorite animal joke, and a recommended reading bibliography.

Contents:

FAPD, by Sofox
Perfect Harmony, by Jaleta Clegg
Counter-Curlture, by Televassi
The Carrot is Mightier Than the Sword, by Nidhi Singh
A Web of Truths, by James Hudson
Suddenly, Chihuahua, by Madison Keller
Kenyak’s Saga, by MikasiWolf
Rapscallions, by Mary E. Lowd
Dazzle Joins the Screenwriters’ Guild, by Scott Bradfield
A Late Lunch, by Nightshade
Riddles in the Road, by Searska GreyRaven
The Lost Unicorn, by Shawn Frazier
Boomsday, by Jennie Brass
Oh! What a Night!, by Tyson West
Moral for Dogs, by Maggie Veness
Broadstripe, Virginia Smells Like Skunk, by Skunkbomb
A Legend In His Own Time, by Fred Patten
The Cat’s Meow, by Lisa Pais
Woolwertz Department Store Integrated Branch Employee Manual: Human-Furred Relations, by Frances Pauli
A List of Erotica Clichés You Should Avoid in Your Heat Submission, by Dark End
The Best and Greatest Story Ever, by Mog Moogle
Self-Insertion, by Jaden Drackus
The Best and Greatest Sequel: Pron Harder Damnit!, by Some Guy Who Is Definitely Not The Main Character

Regular edition: $18.00. Deluxe edition: $25.00. 291 pages. Cover by Tabsley; 28 interior illustrations by Tabsley and Jeqon.   Regular ISBN 978-1-945247-30-9. Deluxe ISBN 978-1-945247-31-6.

Fred Patten

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