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Category: Opinion

Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever, by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever, by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith
Kansas City, MO, Andrews McMeel Publishing, January 2017, trade paperback $9.99 (242 pages), Kindle $8.49.

Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy, by Doug Savage
Kansas City, MO, Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 2016, hardcover $31.99, trade paperback $9.97 (144 pages), Kindle $9.47.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by Dana Simpson. Introduction by Peter S. Beagle.
Kansas City, MO, Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 2014, hardcover $13.99, trade paperback $9.99 (222 [+2] pages, Kindle $7.71.

These three books are samples of Andrews McMeel Publishing’s “AMP! comics for kids” series for children 8 to 12 years old (grades 3 to 7). The AMP! books are a combination of original book-length cartoon-art works and collections of newspaper or Internet daily comic strips. Most of them are not animal oriented, but here are two that are, plus Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn, mostly for her previously-acclaimed hit in furry fandom, Ozy and Millie (although Phoebe does contain Marigold the Unicorn, and sometimes goblins). Furry fans may want to take a look at some of these. Many are in public libraries.

Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever, by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith, is a standalone original 242-page spinoff from Schorr’s The Grizzwells newspaper comic strip (1987 to present), featuring a funny-animal family of grizzly bears and their community. The newspaper strip is gag-a-day without any continuity. Schorr and his assistant Smith have tried to create a coherent novel, but what they have here is really a collection of lame one-liners with a thin connecting plot line. Astronomy class: “Do you know anything about asteroid belts?” “Only that they’re what asteroids wear when they can’t find their suspenders.” The characters compound the groaners by often breaking the fourth wall and looking knowingly at the reader. You can almost hear a drum-roll’s bada-boom.

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Balance in Chaos by Lilith K. Duat – book review by Alecta Andromeda.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Alecta Andromeda for contributing a first guest post.

This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region.

I keep hoping that a new renaissance in furry erotica is upon us, bringing hot, sexy anthro copulation in increasing quality, but the search for real stars in the genre is tough one as the field still needs to find it’s legs.

On that note, I am excited to highlight an exciting name to watch. Lilith K. Duat and Maria Delynn collaborated on the E-book Balance in Chaos. It’s an oddball title with an overload of exposition in places, but overall the furry and erotic elements are well balanced and hot.

The concept itself is also quite the page turner. Anup is a corollary to Egypt’s Anubis, ruling the realm of the dead as an obsessive (and dominant!) master. Some may say that the furry aspect of this novel is light, and it is, but I have a huge thing for Jackals and always wanted to get laid by Anubis. Egypt and Greek gods are colliding in a conflict of souls and waging war over followers. Turns out as one nation invades another, the Gods of the defeated faith suffer a loss of power. The give and take of this conflict laid a great backdrop for the characters, and it was nice to go into the book with a sense of familiarity.

The plot also gives us a perfect backdrop for the sex! Anup is disciplined and moral. Discordia is a God of Chaos. While first embroiled in combat and disdain, Anup takes a sensual control of Discordia and dominates her with the sheer might of his Jackal manhood. The hesitation, the temptation, the wrongness and star crossed lover plot is a little cliche, but works every way it should.

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reWritten, by Jako Malan – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

reWritten, by Jako Malan
Plainfield, CT, Goal Publications, April 2017, trade paperback $15.00 (200 [+2] pages).

The setting of reWritten is a world from which humans have disappeared and been replaced with anthropomorphized Mammalœ.

It’s best not to dwell on the confusing background. The Mammalœ are aware of man’s past existence:

We are, indeed, not the first to call this world our home. Bright-eyed and naive, our earliest ancestors wandered forth as the sun set on the age of man and rose for Mammalœ. The ruins of their magnificent civilization would be both the foundation and inspiration for our own.” (p. 1)

What happened to man? It doesn’t sound like man became extinct through war, unless it was a war that didn’t include blast damage – the Mammalœ consider man’s ruins to be “magnificent”. Have the Mammalœ (the narrator is an anthro jackal; others are aardvarks, meerkats, springboks, rats, rabbits, mongooses, servals, cheetahs, etc.) evolved to replace man? That would take millions of years. Surely there wouldn’t be anything of man’s left to seem “magnificent”. The Mammalœ civilization seems like a rundown funny-animal imitation of man’s; a smoky city that includes coal power, rickety electric trams, hand-cranked automobiles for the rich; most Mammalœ riding bicycles… The Mammalœ such as the rat and zebra are all the same size, presumably human. It’s easier to just accept that man was here but is gone now, and anthro mammals (Malan is South African; so is the setting – the Mammalœ currency is even rands, not dollars) have replaced him in early-20th-century-style cities.

Professor M. (for Makwassie) van Elsburg (a jackal), head of the Department of Anthropology and History at Mammalaœ University in Bridgend (apparently a major Mammalœ city), is approached at a reception by rich Mr. Oberholzer (a hyrax), the patriarch of the Bridgend Energy Cartel. Prof. van Elsburg recognizes him as one of the most influential and notorious mobsters in Bridgend. (He flaunts it; what’s the point of being influential and notorious if everyone doesn’t know it?) Oberholzer is also interested in the history and disappearance of man, and he has a private museum in his mansion. Five months earlier he and an associate had organized an expedition to the ruins of a human city that they hoped would provide more information. The expedition disappeared; simultaneously Oberholzer’s private collection was burglarized, and his servants began being followed. Oberholzer wants Prof. van Elsburg to lead a second expedition to the ruins, to find the hoped-for information and any clues to the vanished first expedition. Elsburg objects that he’s late-middle-aged and sedentary, without any experience in exploring, but Oberholzer’s request is similar to Don Vito Corleone’s offer that can’t be refused.

“‘Take the train to the Ashton precinct.’ Mr. Oberholzer’s last instructions interrupted my train of thought. ‘That is as far as the railways will take you. In town, I will arrange for my associate to meet you. He will brief you from there onwards. I have already contacted him with the particulars of the assignment. Be vigilant, Professor. Don’t discuss your task with anyone. And don’t disappoint me.’” (pgs. 31-32)

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

by André Kon

2017 is officially halfway over, and boy has it been one hell of a year for the fandom. We’ve covered the official demise of Rainfurrest, 2’s fall from grace and subsequent cancellation at Anthrocon, and more than one fake bomb threat being called into a convention… and we still have six months left to go! Fret not, because while we’ve collected four more of the top stories in the fandom to present to you today most of them aren’t that soul crushing. Most.

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Hot Dish Vol. 2, Edited by Dark End – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Hot Dish. Volume 2, edited by Dark End. Illustrated.
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, December 2016, trade paperback $17.95 (viii + 307 pages)

Hot Dish #2 is an anthology intended for an adult audience only and contains some explicit sexual scenes of various sexual orientations. It is not for sale to persons under the age of 18. (publisher’s rating)

Hot Dish #1 (edited by Alopex) was published in March 2013. Sofawolf described it as “Hot Dish is a collection of stories about the romantic and erotic relationships between characters of disparate species and sexual orientations. It is a hearty portion of quality fiction which was too long to fit into our yearly adult anthology, Heat.” It won the 2013 Cóyotl Award for Best Anthology.

Hot Dish #2 does not have only stories that were too long for Heat. Sofawolf solicited stories especially for it during 2014. But otherwise this is a good description of Hot Dish #2: eight long novelettes of romantic and erotic s-f & fantasy relationships with humanoid animals, each illustrated by one of three artists. Romance and eroticism are presented in an extremely wide range of backgrounds and emotions.

These eight novelettes are so lengthy that each feels almost like a short novel. This is a long review.

“Loops and Knots” by Tempe O’Kun (illustrated by Anyare) is a time-travel comedy. Tess, a jackal, and Erik, her golden retriever mad scientist/hippie lover, can’t get enough of each other. So Eric turns their large refrigerator into a time machine and brings his one-week-future self to join them for three-way fun-&-games. When Tess is too tired and needs a break, she gets an erotic thrill watching present-Ertk and future-Erik making love to himself.

“‘It’s more like retro-chronal masturbation, really.’ Erik draped a blanket over her lap.” (p. 10)

“Still in a post-orgasmic daze, Tess watched her boyfriend’s temporal tryst. His silken shag blended together, every shade of gold shining in the autumn sun. His muzzle locked with itself. Feeling an odd pang of jealousy, she crossed her arms. ‘You’re completely shameless, aren’t you?’

[…]

She pressed a hand to her forehead, trying not to smile. ‘Oh, all right. Go fuck yourself.’” (p. 17)

It’s very lewd, very sticky, and very funny.

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Furry Fandom, by Wikipedians – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Furry Fandom, by Wikipedians. Illustrated.
Limburg an der Lahn, Germany, PediaPress, —–, trade paperback $21.65 ([v +] 258 pages).

Furry Fandom is supposedly an “all that you want to know” book about furry fandom, but with a major flaw. It’s only current to around 2010. It’s a fine book at 258 well-indexed pages and with 46 illustrations (mostly photographs) to give to a non-furry who asks what furry fandom is all about. It presents a complete overview. But the fandom has grown and otherwise changed so much since 2010 that anyone becoming a furry fan today will need more information to be brought up to date.

PediaPress is a modern print-on-demand publisher in a suburb of Mainz, Germany that is closely associated with Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, “PediaPress was established to provide an online service that enabled Web users to create customized books from wiki content, an example of web-to-print technology.” Anyone can request a book on any subject, and “the Wikipedians” will collate all the information on that subject spread throughout “the over 4 million articles on Wikipedia in English alone” into a handy book – officially.

This Furry Fandom book does not have any publication date other than a statement that this copy was printed on April 24, 2017 at 23:51 UTC. But that does not mean the book has all Wikipedia’s information on furry fandom up to April 2017. It states that Anthrocon was held from 1997 to 2009. EuroFurence and Further Confusion are covered up to 2010. The Ursa Major Awards were presented from 2001 to 2008. (p. 44) The Furry Writers’ Guild and its Cóyotl Award, created in 2010 and 2011, are not mentioned. A four-page list of active furry conventions does not include anything after November 2010. The list of furry comic strips and webcomics includes some titles that have been discontinued since 2010 and does not include some that have become major since then. There is no section on furry specialty publishers, although Sofawolf Press is briefly mentioned – FurPlanet and Rabbit Valley are not. Dr. Kathy Gerbasi and the Anthropomorphic Research Project are not mentioned.

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Of Cloak and Fangs Vol.12, If It Isn’t You…, by Alain Ayroles & Jean-Luc Masbou – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

De Cape et de Crocs. Acte 12, Si Ce N’Est Toi…, by Alain Ayroles & Jean-Luc Masbou.
Paris, Delcourt, November 2016, hardbound €14,50 (47 [+3] pages).

The Fred Patten & Lex Nakashima plan to bring you the best French-language talking-animal comics has a real winner this time: Of Cloak and Fangs. Vol. 12, If It Isn’t You…, the twelfth & final(!) volume of De Cape et de Crocs, the 17th-century swashbuckling series parodying Cyrano de Bergerac, Molière, Montesquieu, and Co. that has been running since 1995.

Confusingly, volume 10 was originally announced as the end of the series. The main characters through vol. 10 are two wandering gentleman-swordsmen, Armand Raynal de Maupertuis (French fox) and Don Lope de Villalobos y Sangrin (Spanish wolf). They are introduced in 17th-century Venice, then a powerful Mediterranean nation. In the first volume they are betrayed and sentenced to serve as galley-slaves in Venice’s navy, where they meet fellow-slave Eusèbius, the cutest bunny-rabbit in the world. They escape, bringing Eusèbius with them. Eusèbius becomes their loyal squire-valet for the rest of the series, through adventures in Europe and on the Moon; so naïve and self-effacing that you almost forget he’s there. Volume 10 appeared to wrap everything up with a happily-ever-after ending, but the ten albums never said what the cutest bunny-rabbit in the world was doing as a Venetian galley-slave when they met him. Did readers demand an explanation? Volumes 11 and 12 answer the question.

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The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time.

by Patch O'Furr

TROLLING ANTHROCON

The infamous Confederate fursuit got a lot of views on social media. The issue started with complaints during Anthrocon and Midwest Furfest in 2015.  By no coincidence, the symbol was pushed on the fandom at the same time as racist mass murder by Dylann Roof led to taking down Confederate flags across the USA.  Then in 2017, during a huge amount of positive news about Anthrocon, the issue bubbled up again like a turd in a punchbowl.

The fursuiter is Magnus Diridian, AKA Rob Shokawsky. He was previously known for causing disturbances by copying the fursuit of Lemonade Coyote to exploit his death for attention. For several years, Magnus was reputedly banned from MWFF and Anthrocon.  He came back to troll with the Confederate fursuit and a Trump sign that violated AC’s Code of Conduct:

Any action or behavior that causes significant interference with convention operations, excessive discomfort to other attendees, or adversely affects Anthrocon’s relationship with its guests, its venues or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in permanent suspension of membership.

Harassment includes … Conduct, dress, or speech that targets, threatens, intimidates, or is otherwise intended to cause distress to other attendees, or to members of protected classes (such as those based on race, age, religion, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual identity).

Magnus chose to bring that suit even though he has many others. There’s no pretending that it was anything but forcing politics on others, since he admits he did it because of “attack” on the flag. According to his helper, he was even  “ghosting” the con to do it. He could have attended like anyone else if he didn’t set out to cause entirely predictable negativity. To be perfectly clear, Magnus was an antagonistic outsider who did not register or support Anthrocon.

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MoonDust: Falling From Grace, by Ton Inktail – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

MoonDust: Falling From Grace, by Ton Inktail
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2015, trade paperback $14.99 (380 [+1] pages), Kindle $4.99

This is one of the best science-fiction novels I’ve ever read.

It’s also one of the best furry novels I’ve ever read. Humanity is extinct; transgenic animal people, created for the war effort, are all that are left. The protagonist, Imogene Haartz, is a young caribou (reindeer)-human hybrid; she shaves her fur when sent by the military to a hot climate, and takes prescribed drugs to suppress her antlers’ growth. Who needs antlers in the Army? Everyone is a boar or a rabbit or a ferret or an otter or a tiger or some other animal, whether the species is specified or not.

It’s also one of the bleakest novels I’ve ever read. Everyone is miserable until they die. (Metaphorically.) Imogene has grown up in the mid-22nd century in the rubble of Helsinki. The world has evolved until there are only two super-powers left, the UNA (United Nations of America) and the Pan-Asian Federation. If they aren’t in a shooting war, they’re in a cold war so frigid that everyone expects it to boil over at every moment. Imogene’s father was killed in the last active fighting.

“Imogene stared up at her mother’s apartment building. Old and gray, it rose to ten stories of utilitarian serviceability. Of the four buildings that had surrounded a small park, only it survived. Two others were rubble, while the fourth clawed at the sky with broken, concrete fingers.

Most of Helsinki was like that. Twelve years after the United Nations of America ‘liberated’ the city, the cleanup effort was far from complete. Especially away from the wealthy neighborhoods. Imogene couldn’t remember what it was like before the UNA. Derelict buildings and mounds of broken concrete seemed the natural state of things.” (p. 11)

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Murrin Road, by L. B. Kitty – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Murrin Road, by L. B. Kitty
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2016, trade paperback $9.00 (171 pages), Kindle $3.00.

This is an Irish novel with funny animals. It begins:

“Lexy stood hunched and huddled by a billboard as the rain came streaking down, sometimes blowing along Murrin Road in waves. His fur matting where the moisture had penetrated, droplets resting on his whiskers and breathing heavily, he looked at the gleam of shining rails before him, and as he took a step out from the end of the road he could hear the hum of the vibrating steel.” (p. 1)

Lexy is a black cat in the gritty industrial part of London. While he is standing out and getting soaked in the rain, a truck roars up, throws something out, and speeds away.

“He walked slowly towards whatever it was the moved in curled flicking motions like a leech sucking goodness from the gutter. The rain was now really running through his clothes, it felt like it was pouring through his soul, could it cleanse him? He stood two foot away and looked down; in the faint orange glow of a distant street-lamp he saw a familiar shape. Except for its lumpy looking end, he recognized a Feline figure, he leaned down and saw that whoever it was looked like they had been beaten, bloodied, tied up and even had a sack placed over their head. He reached his paw slowly down ‘Just a little further…’” (p. 2)

Excuse me for not putting [sic.] throughout that quotation. The something is a sack with a white cat in it, who says to just call him Kitty. Brian O’Connor, “The Celtic Tiger” (he’s a Tiger – Kitty the author capitalizes all animal nouns), a mob boss, has ordered that Kitty be disposed of. Lexy objects to having trash dumped on his doorstep, so he takes Kitty and marches into Brian’s working-class pub headquarters to complain. Brian tells all his lieutenants to shoot Lexy. Kitty saves him, and the black and white cats become an Odd Couple-type best friends and eventually very chaste gay lovers.

Murrin Road is a good example of how not to write a furry novel – or a novel at all. The characters are unusually superficially funny animals. A couple of major supporting characters are Terri, a barmaid, and Lee, a biker. Terri and Lee are identified as a Fox and a Tiger when they are introduced, and then their species is hardly mentioned for the rest of the novel. They might as well be humans. “By this time Lee was awake and making coffee, Junior was sitting up eating plain toast.” (p. 92) That’s a tiger drinking coffee and a wolf eating toast. Inconsistently, some characters are named by species almost every time they are mentioned, like Marriot, an Otter:

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