Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Opinion

Furries vs. Evil: Habits in geek social spaces

by Patch O'Furr

This was written as introduction for a planned series. I edited it to stand alone in response to recent events of bad things being exposed. Expect to see it reposted in the future to fit a series. It’s kind of a thinkpiece to provoke open ended conversation. Let’s start with a weird question… (- Patch)

Q: How are furries like Catholic Nuns? 

Aside from silly headgear or being anthropomorphic penguins… this isn’t about being moralistic, but it involves contrasting black-and-white appearances.

Do nuns make you think nice thoughts about The Sound of Music or Mother Teresa, with harmless ladies playing guitar and taking care of orphans?

For a huge contrast, now think of scandals with abusive priests, where churches shift them from diocese to diocese to cover it up. It’s easy to assume nuns don’t do abuse like that. Until news comes out that they do, but the church hasn’t been accountable. This news may be loaded with a certain counterintuitiveness that increases the WTF factor. But in both cases, it’s dishonest to blame individuals for an institutional problem.

Furry fandom is made of loose federations of groups. Almost all of them are super positive and friendly and it would be gross exaggeration to suggest an institutional problem like above. It’s not a church with a pope. At worst, dramatic stories like a ring of abuse in Pennsylvania was limited to personal friendships that didn’t go as far as alleged. (Lupinefox, who was accused of hosting it at his house, was found not guilty on all charges in court.)

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Atlas & Axis [Volume 1], by Pau – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Atlas & Axis [volume 1], by Pau. Illustrated.
London, Titan Comics, July 2018, trade paperback, $19.99 (unpaged [160 pages]).

I reviewed the original French editions of Jean-Marc Pau’s four hardcover albums of 80 pages each, La Saga d’Atlas & Axis, on Flayrah and here, from 2013 to 2017. Now here is a trade paperback graphic novel in English of the first two albums combined. (There’s no translation credit. Did Pau translate it himself? See his blog Escápula News. It’s mostly in Spanish, but there’s enough in English to show that he speaks fluent English.) This was published by Titan’s Statix Press as four comic-book issues from February through May 2018. This trade paperback graphic album has followed promptly.

Atlas & Axis is described as a funny-animal Astérix & Obelix, or in the vein of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo or Jeff Smith’s Bone. I can add Carl Barks’ and Don Rosa’s best Uncle Scrooge/Donald Duck stories, and some Japanese graphic novels by Osamu Tezuka or Shotaro Ishinomori. It’s both funny and adventurous/dramatic, with rich, lush art brightly printed on glossy paper.

Atlas and Axis are two dog adventurers, an Afghan hound (Atlas) and a terrier mix (Axis), in the talking-animal world of Pangea, apparently around 1000 A.D. (But events in volume 4, not yet published in English, completely disprove this.) They live near the village of Kanina, somewhere on the coast in what might be northern France. Atlas returns from a mission for their friend Canuto (translating a parchment with a clue to a bone leading to endless food), and he & Axis go to Kanina for a festival. They find it destroyed by Viking raiders, and all their friends killed or kidnapped. Their first adventure together is for revenge against the Vikings and to find Atlas’ kidnapped sister Erika. After that, as Atlas says, “Without our FRIENDS, there’s nothing to keep us here anymore. This is no longer our HOME.”, and later, “What do we do NOW?” They still have Canuto’s parchment with the clue for Chimera’s bone. Axis says, “Oh, yeah? Well, let’s go FIND it then. We’ve got nothing better to do.” And that’s their justification for one quest after another. This volume ends with them taking part (against their wills) in a war against the pirate nation of Escapula (an ingroup reference to Pau’s blog).

One of the quests is started by two academics debating in Mrs. Honey’s Tower Bar over the origin of dogs. One argues that dogs have evolved from wolves, while the other argues for a divine creation by Toby, the dog god. Atlas and Axis go on a quest to far northeastern Sabakistan to look for a tribe of nomads who are rumored to be half dogs and half wolves; “the MISSING LINK in the evolutionary chain between wolf and dog.” They do it because they’re bored. “We’re going on another ADVENTURE!”

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Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All, by Christopher Irvin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All, by Christopher Irvin. Illustrations by Conor Nolan.
Boston, MA, Cutlass Press, October 2017, trade paperback, $16.00 (250 [+1] pages).

“Cal sat along the riverbank atop a wind-swept pile of dry, dead leaves. Bare feet at the water’s edge, pea coat buttoned to his chin. The ancestry of his mixed breed had been lost to time, but if you’d been fortunate to be in the company of a variety of the Canis lupus familiaris, you might think his facial features resembled that of a beagle: dusty white from nose to top of skull blending with a reddish-brown along the sides of his face and lower jaw, eyes sharp with a tinge of sadness, and long ears that dangled near his shoulders, that at first glance might cause one to mistake his nature for more playful than it was. Cal would deem himself a proud mutt, but when you’re head of the sole family of dogs to make their home in the Woods, you become the dog; the definition your face, your actions. All in all, it was a mixed bag – especially considering his past. When you grow up with an exiled raccoon with a penchant for poaching for a mentor, life in the Woods is an uphill battle. Cal clutched a makeshift fishing rod loosely in his paws – a slightly gnarled branch with a bit of moss-dyed twine […]” (p. 11)

Well, this paragraph goes on for another half-page. Author Irvin describes Ragged as like “Fargo meets Wind in the Willows”. The back-cover blurb begins, “In a feral twist on crime fiction, Cal, a mutt with a criminal past, must avenge the death of his wife and protect his pups from the inherent darkness of nature and the cold cruelness of the looming winter.”

As you can tell, Irvin has a laid-back, wordy writing style. Considering the rural backwoods setting, and the animal cast – Duchess, the old hedgehog who runs the General Store, Roderick rabbit with his 26 children (he’s almost immediately killed), Gil the argumentative catfish, Maurice the sly raccoon, head of the Rubbish Heap gang, Billiam Badger the officious town bureaucrat (“I’m the elected official of the Woods […]”), Nutbrown Squirrel the matronly schoolteacher, Ted and Helen Pig, Hugo and Mol Otter, Hank and Myrtle Tortoise, and many more, Ragged at times seems more like Walt Kelly’s swamp community in Pogo. But then:

“Old Brown [a bear] burst from the river, paws outstretched for Cal, who was tense and ready this time, yet Old Brown’s reach was too long and he snatched Cal by his coat as he tried to back away, popping a button loose, wrenching him to the river’s edge, face-to-face. As Old Brown pulled him in, Cal ripped the pistol from his pocket, pulled back the hammer and pressed it into the side of the bear’s skull. The rivals snarled, bared their sharp teeth with clenched jaws.” (p. 21)

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Dissident Signals, Edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip Wolf – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Dissident Signals, edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip Wolf.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2018, trade paperback, $19.95 (349 pages), Kindle $9.95.

“Everyone wants to create a perfect world.

Whether crafted by benevolent computers or drafted in the boardrooms of corporations that own all we ever know, shining cities and indomitable Empires have risen to reveal the very best of us. The leaders we choose, and those forced upon us, can create hell or paradise. Sometimes they create both at the same time.” (blurb)

Of course, things don’t go as intended. This anthology contains “sixteen dystopian stories about greed, power, and control from worlds like ours but not ours. Stories about hope, despair, and those willing to stand up to their oppressors to resist.” (blurb)

The frame, created by the editors and illustrated on the cover by Teagan Gavet, is of a nameless individual holed up in a ruined building, broadcasting sixteen accounts of what went wrong all over the world.

In “0.02%” by Faora Meridian, 0.02% is the amount of the world population that is immune to Core’s brainwashing additive to the air, called Whimsy, making everyone happy and peaceful and docile. Since Core can’t Whimsy-fy the entire atmosphere of Earth, people are brought inside enclosed Colonies all around the world. The 0.02% of the population who are unaffected by Whimsy are considered unmanageable and warlike, and are regretfully euthanized. Jordan Mulley and her brother Blake are freedom fighters among the 0.02%, trying to infiltrate Core Colony Sixty-Two to rescue a youth about to be tested for his susceptibility or resistance to Whimsy. The characters debate whether a world where 99.9998% of people are happy and peaceful in a idyllic setting is bad, if the other 0.02% are killed.

“Chasing the Feeling” by Mog Moogle is like the previous story, but much bleaker. Mirra is also inside an enclosed dome, but the entire world outside is uninhabitable:

“The reddened sky dissipated over the wall. Behind the emitters, the deadly cloud was repulsed and the original shades of night stretched on in its place. With a hiss, the access hatch opened and the vixen crawled in.” (p. 39)

Again, everyone is brainwashed, but the regimentation is much harsher. Mirra also fights against the system, but subconsciously rather than deliberately, and it is implied that it is too late to oppose the system if any life is to survive. “Chasing the Feeling” is better-written than “0.002%”, but more depressing. Both “0.02%” and “Chasing the Feeling” are funny-animal stories. Their characters are described as anthropomorphic animals, but they might as well be humans.

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Cottons [1] The Secret of the Wind, by Jim Pascoe – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Cottons [1] The Secret of the Wind, by Jim Pascoe. Maps, illustrations by Heidi Arnhold.
NYC, First Second, July 2018, hardcover, $19.99 (242 [+ 22] pages), Kindle $9.99.

Watership Down is known for its creation of a language and religion for its rabbits. Cottons, a deluxe hardcover graphic novel trilogy, has a rabbit history, religion, geography, industry, currency, and “magic”. This is mostly presented as background information in the unpaged epilogue to this first of three volumes.

The story takes place in the Vale of Industry, one of two vales in the World of Lavender (which is much less realistic for rabbits than the rabbit world in Watership Down). The Vale has two main species of inhabitants, the prey rabbits (called cottons) and the predator foxes.

The main protagonist is Bridgebelle, an apparently ordinary doe working in Wampu’s carrot factory. The Industry page explains:

“Sometime during the Tooth Age, an industrious rabbit named Rekra had a wild idea: if rabbits eat carrots for energy, then there should be a way to extract the energy out of carrots in a more pure form. After many failed experiments, he discovered a method of refining carrots into a light orange powder called cha.” (p. [255])

“Wampu Industries”, where most rabbits work, refines carrots into the cha that powers all rabbit materialism. Also rabbit art, but creating art is considered a waste of needed cha. Due to the need for more and more cha, there are less and less carrots for food, leading to a growing hunger problem. Bridgebelle would rather be free to use cha to create objects of art (called thokchas), but this gets her a reputation of being lazy, frivolous, and wasteful of cha.

In addition, the foxes (all shown as evil villains) are trying to force the rabbits to turn the carrot factory over to them. They want the factory and the cha for different reasons: Marrow Winterborne to kill the rabbits and gain a supply of endless power; Sylvan to enslave the rabbits and use the cha to lead the foxes to the Black Sun and summon the Broken Feather King, the ruler of Empyrean, the cottons’ Hell (but it is in the sky); and Vor for the cha as an opium-like drug to which he is addicted.

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Tales of the Firebirds, by Kyell Gold – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Tales of the Firebirds, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Tess Garman.
Mountain View, CA, 24 Carat Words, June 2018, trade paperback, $14.95 (167 [+ 1] pages), eBook $6.99.

Kyell Gold is the author of the five mega-popular “Dev and Lee” novels, published by Sofawolf Press between 2009 and 2016, featuring the homosexual lovers Devlin Miski (tiger), a football star for the Chevali Firebirds, and Wiley Farrel (fox), a gay rights activist and football talent scout: Out of Position, Isolation Play, Divisions, Uncovered, and Over Time. Tales of the Firebirds is Gold’s own collection of twelve short stories about Dev, Lee, and their friends (mostly Dev’s Firebirds teammates), written to answer readers’ questions and to fill out their personalities.

Gold says in his Introduction, “Spending a decade in the Out of Position world inevitably led to me thinking about things that might have happened off the stage of the novels, first to the main characters Lee and Dev, and later to a number of the side characters. Many of the stories in this collection were published elsewhere; some were written just to explore certain characters, and one was written to round out the collection about a character who won a Twitter poll.” (p. [1]) Most were published somewhere, some appeared only on Gold’s website, and a couple is original.

Three of the stories feature Dev or Lee, mostly before they met each other. The other nine focus upon one of their friends, enemies, Lee’s father, or Coach Samuelson: Jay Cornwall (stag football player), Colin Smith (fox religious bigot), Gerrard Marvell (older coyote football player), and so on.

Since the Dev and Lee novels are about both gay relationships and football, those are the main themes of these stories. From “Halftime Entertainment” featuring Jay Cornwell:

“Later, after the game, there’ll be a quiet dinner in Crystal City’s gay neighborhood, where a big coyote and stag blend in pretty well with the rest of the gym rats from the beach. There’ll be a few drinks in a bar, maybe dancing in a club where the lights stay low and we can bump and shove without football pads between us. There’ll be time to undress slowly at his apartment, to look at each other and touch each other, to make comments on workouts and the injuries of the season, my sore shoulders, his sore knee. And there’ll be, maybe, a little time tomorrow morning before my team’s plane leaves. This moment here is all about the game and the sex, the need and the release, the here and the now, but it doesn’t stop me thinkin’ about the other stuff while I’m getting’ my hands on him.” (p. 24)

From “Heart” with Hal Kinnel (fox sports reporter):

“Chevali’s quarterback – Aston, the wolf – is not top-five. But he doesn’t turn the ball over a lot and he’s got a good arm. He’s not accurate, but his misses are usually low or out of bounds, not the kind of misses that turn into picks. The wolverine at running back gets compared unfairly to Gateway’s wolverine (Bixon, the one Lee was talking about), which is kind of like comparing me to the star of that new vampire movie because we’re both swift foxes. But Jaws is better than average, and when you factor in his durability, he’s probably top-five in the league. Maybe number six, depending on if you count Yerba’s tandem as one.

Aston marches them down the field and then the drive stalls. But they punt with good field position and pin the Pilots back inside their ten, and it’s on that series that Miski gets to make a play.

It’s second and four, and the quarterback zips the ball to the tight end. The rabbit grabs it cleanly and turns to run upfield –

–and Miski is right there, wraps him up and drives him down to the ground. There’s a hiss from near the front; I look up and see Lee at the end of a fist-pump, and realize that the hiss was the end of him saying ‘Yes!’

He catches my eye and grins, and I can’t help but grin back. His eyes sparkle and he walks over. ‘If you want to make another easy twenty,’ he says in a fox-whisper, ‘go lay some more money on the Firebirds. We’re gonna win.’” (p. 106)

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ROAR Vol. 9, Resistance, Edited by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

ROAR Volume 9, Resistance, Edited by Mary E. Lowd.
Dallas, TX, Bad Dog Books, July 2018, trade paperback, $19.95 (297 pages), eBook $7.95.

ROAR volume 9, Bad Dog Books’ annual anthology of non-erotic furry adventure short fiction, is the fourth edited by Mary E. Lowd. It follows last year’s vol. 8 devoted to Paradise, and 2016’s vol. 7 devoted to Legends. This year’s theme is Resistance; “[…] the vision of resistance […] expressed through the voices of fifteen amazing authors.”

I suspect that Lowd accepted stories based on their quality rather than their relevance to the theme. The stories are all very good, and an excellent mix of types, although I don’t see what connection some of them have to “resistance”.

“Saguaros” by Watts Martin features Hanai, a coyote aristocrat, and Tamiisi, her shy rabbit maid, in a desert world of magic:

“Tamiisi stepped toward the wall. The neighborhood lanterns were first to meet her eyes, fixed lamps glittering from lawns and porches and thorn-trees, floating lamps trailing behind or in front of unseen travelers. As her eyes adjusted, she could trace the lines of sidewalks and carriageways, see the pennants atop the highest tents of the Great Market. Sky-fish flitted through the air, over and under the stone bridges, leaping to touch the rare flying sled. If she remained perfectly still, listened ever so closely, she could hear the clockwork birds twittering in faint harmonies as they returned to the park to roost for the night.” (p. 19)

But is the magic the coyotes’ or the rabbits’ – or someone else’s? The rabbits are unhappy with their lot, but what happens doesn’t seem to be due to anyone’s “resistance”.

In “Ghosts” by Searska GreyRaven, the resistance is that Cal, an Angora neko-form, is lesbian and rejects the straight heterosexual life her domineering father demands that she lead. Cal’s partner after he dies is Deanne, a black cat neko-form scientist trying to prove the existence of ghosts. When Cal’s father’s ghost continues to try to force her to “return to God”, the story becomes like a dramatic Ghostbusters:

“I squinted my eyes shut, and suddenly felt a burst of heat along the side of my face. My father snarled and let go, dropping me to the floor. I lay, gasping for air and opened one eye.

Deanne stood in the doorway, a heavy contraption slung over one shoulder. She held what looked like a gun from a game of laser tag in her paws.

‘What … the hell?’ I coughed. ‘Is that?’ I couldn’t think of the word.

‘Nope. It’s a spectral inverter. And it’ll scorch your retinas if you look at it!’

The ghost of my father roared and flew at Deanne, who roared right back and hit him again with a beam of red-black energy. My father dodged and laughed.” (p. 47)

Calling Cal and Denise “neko-forms” instead of just cats is necessary because there’s also a non-anthro pet cat in the story.   Also a rat-form, corvine-forms, and a lupine-form for anthro animals, plus humans. The ROAR vol. 9 cover by Kadath illustrates “Ghosts”.

In “Froggy Stews” by Humphrey Lanham, Uri, a frog, and Clyde, a sea lion, are roommates despite the disparity in their sizes:

“The [drunken] frog nodded. Clyde offered up a flipper for Uri to climb onto. On a normal day, Uri would never allow himself to be carried about by a larger animal like that. Today, however, he didn’t think he could successfully move from the sink to the couch without looking more ridiculous than he would in the arms of a sea lion.” (p. 57)

After six months, one of the two decides that the Odd Couple relationship isn’t working out. I’m not sure where the “resistance” is here. In fact, I’m not sure why a normal-sized frog and sea lion would ever decide to become roommates in a normal human house in the first place. All anthro fiction requires some acceptance of fantasy, but “Peeling off his grey turtleneck and $100 jeans” (p. 53) – this is a normal-sized, normal-physique frog? And a normal-physique sea lion doesn’t have legs. “Froggy Stews” reads smoothly, but the constant description of the frog’s physical normality (a small, hopping, cold-blooded reptile) made it impossible for me to envision him dressing in clothes, getting drunk, and living in a house-sharing relationship (a two-story house, at that) with a much-larger mammal who doesn’t have legs.

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Cold Blood: Fatal Fables, by Bill Kieffer – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Cold Blood: Fatal Fables, by Bill Kieffer.
Capalaba, Queensland, Australia, Jaffa Books, May 2018, trade paperback, $17.00 (323 pages), Kindle $5.50.

Readers had better consider Cold Blood an adult book for all the graphic M/M sex in the original stories.

This is Kieffer’s collection of six anthro “furry noir” novelettes set in his Aesop’s World universe. Five of them feature his Brooklyn Blackie wolfdog private investigator. The sixth features Frosty Pine, a Bearded Dragon roadie of another Bearded Dragon who is a rock star. Two of them are reprints; “Brooklyn Blackie and the Unappetizing Menu” from the anthology Inhuman Acts: An Anthology of Noir, edited by Ocean Tigrox, and “Unbalanced Scales” from ROAR vol. 7, edited by Mary E. Lowd. If you liked those samples of Kieffer’s furry crime noir stories, here are more of them.

Cold Blood does not have a Table of Contents. Allow me to add one:

“Welcome to Aesop’s World”, a four–page Introduction, p. [5]

“Shepard”, p. 11

“Brooklyn Blackie and the Dude-Less Dude Ranch”, p. 61

“Brooklyn Blackie and the Rainbow in the Dark”, p. 110

“Brooklyn Blackie and the Unappetizing Menu”, p. 177

“Brooklyn Blackie and the Reverse Badger Game”, p. 233

“Unbalanced Scales”, p. 272

Kieffer’s “Aesop’s World” furry stories are set in the city of New Amsterdam, in the nation of the United and Independent States. It’s our world with differences, from barely-changed names to real supernatural forces. There are languages like Aenglish and Gallish; states like Tejas; religious figures like Xrist. The species names are the same (Dogs, Cats, Rhinos, Anoles, Roadrunner), but they’re divided into Warms, Colds (or Repts), and Avis.

Blackie is a minor character in “Shepard”. Police detective Andrew Shepard, an Alsatian, is not corrupt, but he is a sadist who gleefully beats up suspects and anyone he doesn’t like. But he’s loyal to his friends. Young Blake Black, the son of Waldo “Big Blackie” Black and his wife Lynne (wolves) is the seventh son of a seventh son, and is believed by the superstitious to be cursed. When little Blackie is kidnapped by the Illuminati Arcana cult to be sacrificed to their god, Shepard bursts into their church to rescue him. (He is really Shepard’s and Lynne’s illegitimate child.) But things aren’t what they seem:

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One con, three predators – what this says about furry fandom

by Patch O'Furr

Want some scorekeeping about Dogpatch Press? The site is getting close to 1,000 stories in 4 years, with quadruple readership since 2017 and tons of positive news about fun and cool accomplishments furries keep doing.

Then there’s stories that expose hate and abuse from the fringes. People who don’t follow what the site does like to misrepresent it as nothing more than a source for “drama”, muckraking, “fake news” or angry mob “witch hunts”. These attacks often come from a vested interest in keeping things nice and quiet.

Here’s an example of such a story. (This one started before Dogpatch Press existed, so attacking the messenger is pointless.) This sheds light on the motivation of a former fandom celebrity who fell into disgrace:

(Links in here): Why doesn’t 2 Gryphon tell the truth about how his partner went to prison? Why does he attack abuse victims just like he Protests Too Hard against “SJW’s” and “witch hunts”? Why is he no longer welcome on convention stages?

An honest look at the links will find the answer. It’s complicity by a Quisling who doesn’t give a shit about this fandom. Complicity is a theme for this article, and solutions too.

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Tales from the Guild: World Tour, Edited by Ocean Tigrox – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Tales from the Guild: World Tour, Edited by Ocean Tigrox.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2018, trade paperback, $9.95 (210 pages), eBook $4.95.

This says, “Edited by Ocean Tigrox. Co-edited by Madison Keller, George Squares, and MikasiWolf”. Giving credit to everyone involved.

This is not a sequel, but it is the second Tales from the Guild book. The first was Music to Your Ears, edited by AnthroAquatic, and published by Rabbit Valley in September 2014.

The Guild is the Furry Writers’ Guild, founded in 2010 by Sean Silva. In 2012 it created the Cóyotl Awards, voted on by the FWG members annually for the best anthropomorphic novel, novella, short story, and anthology of the year. The FWG currently consists of over 180 members; most of the authors who write the stories that fill the anthologies and novels from the furry specialty publishers. Tales from the Guild is a showcase of the writing of its members, published as a fundraiser for the Guild.

World Tour consists of eight stories set all around the world. “But how would these tales change if, instead of humans, the world was populated by anthropomorphic creatures?”

“She Who Eats” by Frances Pauli is set in Ternate, East Indonesia. Kittitas Jones, a calico cat, travels from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to Ternate where her mother has just died:

“The boat railing pitched again, making the Molucca Sea a diagonal slash of blue and turning Kit’s stomach inside out. She clenched both paws around the wood and closed her eyes tight against the vertigo, the sense that her world was toppling overboard.” (p. 11)

Kit’s mother was a scientist who left modernized Jakarta for Ternate ten years ago to study the native customs, and never came back. Kit, traveling there to wrap up her mother’s affairs, finds that Ternate is inhabited by Monitor lizard natives who still practice their old culture, including the eating of meat.

“‘I was hoping to be quick.’ She flicked her tail against the back of her legs and pressed the tips of her claws against her pants leg. ‘I’m not here to sightsee.’

‘These things take a while,’ the tiger [the captain of her boat] insisted. ‘You’ll see. Island animals don’t move like city animals, don’t do anything like city animals. He shuddered, prompting her curiosity despite her intentions.

‘What does that mean?’

‘Island life is slow,’ he said. ‘But Ternate is different. Some say, in the shadow of Gamalama, they still eat the meat.’ He grimaced, showing a mouthful of yellow-stained fangs.

‘That’s ridiculous.’ Kit sniffed and then pressed a paw pad over her nose. She mumbled, trying not to let the smell in. ‘My mother wouldn’t have stayed if they did.’” (pgs. 12-13)

Kit and her mother were vegetarians. “’Predation was eradicated through generations of adaptation, through study and dietary modification…’” (p. 31) Kit learns that her mother went native and became She Who Eats, the high-priestess/goddess of the lizards’ religion, which included eating fish; and that the natives want her to become her mother’s successor.

It’s a good story, but I’m not sure how it shows “instead of humans, the world was populated by anthropomorphic creatures”. According to Wikipedia, Ternate and its natives are modernized. Kit wouldn’t have to take a small boat to get there. “During the 2011 eruption [of Gamalama], Indonesia closed a domestic airport near the volcano for several days”. The story looks like a fantasy in more than turning Ternate’s inhabitants into anthro Monitor lizards.

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