Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Opinion

A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Literature, ed. AnthroAquatic – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51mzqy7hULL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Literature, AnthroAquatic, ed.
Plainfield, CT, Goal Publications, November 2016, trade paperback $10.00 (153 pages).

A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Literature was originally a three-issue online magazine of 45 to 50 pages each, published in January, March, and August 2016. This small (5 x 0.3 x 8 inches), slim volume collects all three issues into one handy paper edition, minus the advertisements.

The contents are published as they appeared in the magazine issues; mostly a mixture of short stories and reviews. The book’s most serious lack is a combined table of contents. There are 14 short stories and 11 reviews (also an interview with S. Andrew Swann, and an analysis of Felix Salten’s 1923 novel Bambi: A Life in the Woods as an example for the furry writer; both by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt). The reader is forced to hunt through the whole book to find anything.

The short stories are all under ten pages each. Most are whimsical fantasies. Two, “The Mouse Who Was Born a Bear” and “Sheeperfly’s Lullaby”, both by Mary E. Lowd, are on the ALAA’s 2016 Recommended List of furry short fiction of the year worth reading. Notable others include “Catching the Thief” by Amy Fontaine, “Sheets and Covers” by Ocean Tigrox, “The Charitable Pact of a Soft-hearted Fool” by Slip-Wolf, “Beast” by Frances Pauli, and “Promises to Keep” by Renee Carter Hall.

The brevity and whimsicality of the fiction, plus its interruption by so many book reviews, makes A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Fiction (cover by Aisha Robinson) an intellectual trifle, the literary equivalent of a box of chocolates. Is it worth reading? Very much so, but you will want to read it in short bursts, two or three stories and a review or two at a time, rather than all at once.

This has been a short review of a short book of short stories.

Full disclosure: I am the writer of three of the reviews in it.

-Fred Patten

Last Dance of the Phoenix, by James R. Lane – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

product_thumbnailLast Dance of the Phoenix, by James R. Lane
Raleigh, NC, Lulu Press, August 2016, trade paperback $14.99 (254 pages), Kindle $2.51.

This s-f novel is set in the near future. Thomas Barnes has an Artificial Intelligence in his home, but he also wears a dark blue NRA ball cap, eats at a McDonald’s, drives on Florida’s Highway I-95, drinks Gatorade, and is familiar with the TV program Final Jeopardy.

Two years previously, Earth was discovered by aliens (in flying saucers) and welcomed into the galactic community. The four spacegoing species of aliens that humans meet just happen to look like anthropomorphic foxes, cheetahs, otters, and rabbits.

Convenient? Maybe too convenient? Barnes thinks so.

“No bug-eyed monsters, no giant slugs, spiders, dragons, demons, birds – nothing else. Aliens that didn’t seem so alien after all, apparently guaranteed not to terribly upset ape-based humanity’s rabid xenophobia. To me and a lot of others it just seemed too damned pat. Somebody – or something – had to have engineered all this. Cute.” (p. 10)

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What’s Yiffin’? February 2017 edition – now syndicating the monthly furry news program.

by André Kon

Greetings, readers of Dogpatch Press. I am André “Dracokon” Kon. Maybe you’ve heard of me as I’ve made my rounds in the fandom over the past decade.  If not, here’s the fastest crash course I can give you. I began as a purveyor of written reptilian smut, got invited to speak at a couple of conventions, was admin of the late Herpy website, had work read in an NYC art show, was briefly on SoFurry’s staff, joined the musical stage act Attractivision, and became the host of a livestream called Gatorbox.

With Gatorbox, I’ve helped spearhead a new breed of entertainment through Twitch. With the assistance of my long-time writing counterpart Rob “Roastmaster” Maestro, one show we brought to this channel is What’s Yiffin’?. What’s Yiffin’ began as a one-off bit in September 2015.  The viewer response prompted us to bring it back the following month… and the one after that. The show has been a staple of Gatorbox ever since, with a brand new installment rolled out almost every month.  Now I’m honored to have the series syndicated, adding bonus commentary just for Dogpatch Press.

ENJOY THIS MONTH’S EPISODE

We usually don’t lead with self promotion, however since the Ursa Major Awards have just now opened for nominations, this month’s video lets you know we’re eligible for nominations in the “Magazine” and “Website” categories.  For a good many of you this is probably going to be your first exposure to us and I’m simultaneously excited and profusely apologetic for that. In the name of good journalism, I’d like to provide you with the show’s official playlist on YouTube to give you a better idea of our scope and coverage over the past two years.

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Peter & Company: A Comic Collection, by Jonathan Ponikvar – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51NDvBrHhlL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_Peter & Company: A Comic Collection, by Jonathan Ponikvar.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, June 2012, trade paperback $17.99 (unpaged [74 pages]).

Although it doesn’t say so, this is volume 1 of what is now Ponikvar’s online bi-weekly comic strip. It covers Peter & Company for its first 100 strips; from its beginning on January 1, 2005 to December 17, 2007. Volume 2, Of Cats and Crushes, is “coming soon”.

Peter & Company, drawn with anthropomorphic animal characters, is about Peter (cat), a 12-year-old geek and social loner who gets Seth (duck) as a cross between an imaginary friend and a guardian angel. Seth is invisible to everyone except Peter, but like the ghosts in Thorne Smith’s Topper, he can make his presence felt by others when he wants to.

Ponikvar calls Seth and his compatriots “Guardians” rather than “guardian angels” to remove any religious aspects from the strip, and to present them more imaginatively than in the format of standard religious doctrine. Seth is more like a senpai, a big brother, than a messenger from God. He’s sarcastic, and often openly manipulative to force Peter to do something like studying that he doesn’t want to do.

Ponikvar is also more original in his use of Guardians. Not everyone has a Guardian; only those who need one. Peter can not only see Seth; he can see the Guardians of everyone else who has one – and those who have Guardians can all talk with them. (With exceptions, which are explained in the strip.) The Guardians sometimes get together and “talk shop” without their charges. Peter talks openly to his “imaginary friend”, which increases his reputation as a “freak boy” and gets him sent to Mr. Betrug (dog), the school Counselor.

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Skeleton Crew, by Gre7g Luterman – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

gre7gSkeleton Crew, by Gre7g Luterman. Illustrated.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2014/October 2016, trade paperback $8.95 (259 pages), Kindle $3.99.

This is the first hard science-fiction novel I’ve ever read with absolutely no humans in it. The cover by H. Kyoht Luterman (the author’s wife) shows two of the main characters; Commissioner Sarsuk, a kraken, holding Kanti, a geroo. All of the other characters in the novel are geroo. There are over a dozen full-page illustrations, most by Rick Griffin of Housepets! fame, showing such geroo characters as Kanti, Saina, Tish, Captain Ateri, Chendra, and more.

The geroo are unclothed, with thick tails and fur. There are frequent mentions in the text of twitching ears, tail rings, and the like. Kanti is called Shaggy for his unruly fur.

Skeleton Crew is set entirely on, or within, the huge generation exploratory starship White Flower II in interstellar space. There is a two-page cutaway diagram of the White Flower II by Brandon Kruse. Four centuries earlier, the krakun came to the primitive planet Gerootec and offered to hire thousands of the overpopulated geroo as their starship crews. The geroo who went into space and their descendants would never see Gerootec again, but they would live in luxury compared to the backward geroo on their homeworld. Technically, the White Flower II belongs to the krakuns’ Planetary Acquisitions, Incorporated, with a mission of finding new planets that can be colonized.

New planets for the krakun. Never for the geroo.

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On February 17, don’t go to work – go fursuiting for a General Strike in the USA.

by Patch O'Furr

Political Animals.

animalfarmWhat does Furry have to do with politics?  Nothing. Or a lot.  (Kinda like kink). It’s up to you. Maybe you just like talking-animal media.  Or maybe you like media that’s inseparable from a culture that’s cracking apart.

This group is about talking animals, but it’s made of people, and we don’t exist in a vacuum. (The vacuum is just there to pick up all the shedding.) So for those who care… Let’s recap some previous stories that relate to this, then see what’s up now.

Start with the San Francisco Bay Area.  It has the world’s most dense population of furries, and it’s the epicenter for a rent crisis. That big trend hit the local group when their premiere monthly event, Frolic furry dance was pushed out of it’s home.

Across the bay, on the day Frolic restarted, the Ghost Ship warehouse fire killed 36 fellow party goers at an electronic music show.  It instigated a national purge of underground cultural spaces.  This blog is written from one of those spaces, and narrowly escaped being forced out in a wave of evictions.  Economic class issues are personal here.

Go back to 2012 and the East Coast.  Money, sex and politics crashed into furry fandom in a mini-scandal of “fake news” with the New Jersey FurBQ Hoax.  Looking back now, you might see some of the sparks that turned into 2017’s political dumpster fire. I’m talking about the way the group was split up by dishonesty and xenophobia, and manipulated as pawns for politics.

Furries got scapegoated for having a harmless party. It made me say: “Fun is serious business because it has to do with liberties.”

There’s some examples of how furries have long experience with fake news, they can be vulnerable as a subculture, and they can share a common cause with other marginal communities. (Don’t forget their sizeable queer membership.) You don’t have to agree about politics, but there are good reasons to pay attention. From anti-mask laws, to anti-LGBT legislation and anti-kink moral panic, furries will be part of many fights to come.

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Domino, by Kia Heavey – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51tou2Wni4LDomino, by Kia Heavey.
Greenwich, CT, Unfiltered Creative, January 2016, trade paperback $11.95 (267 pages), Kindle $3.49.

Domino is a large black-&-white barn cat on the Browns’ farm, encouraged to roam it for rodent control. He is unneutered to make him more aggressive. He is complacent as one of the socially dominant cats in the nearby residential neighborhood prowl, along with his best friend Flufferdoodle and others such as Tiger, Cricket, Mister, Lady, Rudy, and Izzy.

Then two new cats enter the neighborhood. Celine is a black field stray who likes a free life, living outside of being a housecat. She becomes Domino’s equal, supporter, and eventually mate. Socrates is a supercilious but charismatic Siamese intellectual who spellbinds most of the other cats with the philosophy that all animals are transcendent – they can transcend their feral instincts if they only try. They all have souls and similar emotions. The cats all have humans who feed them, so they don’t need to go hunting for prey. Domino is amused at first, then alarmed as he sees more and more of his friends listening to Socrates. He is gradually isolated and sidelined as a social boor and killer of helpless wildlife. Domino suspects that Socrates and his housemate, Max the dog, have an ulterior motive, but he can’t figure out what it is.

Then Socrates introduces the rats.

The cover by Damon Bowie shows that either Domino is a small cat, or those are large rats. Domino is a very large cat.

Heavey writes clever dialogue:

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Culdesac; A Novella from the War With No Name, by Robert Repino- review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Culdesac; A Novella from the War With No Name, by Robert Repino.
NYC, Soho Press, November 2016, trade paperback $9.99 (110 pages + an 11-page preview of D’Arc), Kindle $7.99.

CuldesacThis is a side-story to Repino’s Mort(e), reviewed here in June 2015. In Mort(e), the ants declare a war of extinction against mankind. In addition to fighting humanity by themselves, including producing human-sized ant warriors, they use their “mysterious technology” to transform all animals into anthropomorphic intelligent beings. “Suddenly, farm animals, ferals, and pets could think and speak. Their bodies changed, allowing them to walk on their hind legs and use their hands like a human.” (p. 1)

The protagonist of Mort(e) is Sebastian, a pet housecat. When he is transformed, he takes the name Mort(e) and becomes a warrior in the elite Red Sphinx guerilla company under Captain Culdesac, a bobcat. When the ants and animals win, he is given ownership of the home he used to live in as a pet. But he remains a loner, skeptical about the animals’ alliance with the Colony, the underground ant super-nest; and about the animals’ ability to build a new society more successful than the humans’ had been. When the last human survivors resume the war with a new weapon, Mort(e) rejoins the Red Sphinx. The conclusion of the novel reveals whether the animals’ new world is stable, what the Colony’s true goal is, and what happens to Mort(e).

Culdesac takes place during Mort(e). It focuses upon the bobcat commander of the Red Sphinx, who is only a minor supporting character in Mort(e). Unlike Mort(e), who had known humans as a pampered pet and had doubts about turning upon them, Culdesac was a wild predator who grew up knowing only the law of kill-or-be-killed. He brings that attitude to the Red Sphinx.   “Relentless, bloody, and unforgiving, Culdesac is the story of an antihero with no soul to lose, carving a path of destruction that consumes the innocent and the guilty alike.” (blurb)

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More Furries Are Being Featured in the Media, and That’s Good

by Pup Matthias

drakerogers-furries-in-the-media-with-aberguine

Art by Aberguine

Is it me or are Furries popping up in news stories more? It feels strange to bring it up, but I swear the fandom has been getting more media attention and a good amount of it has been positive. Yes, I know, it weirds me out too. The reason I’m writing this opinion piece is, in part, because of my own history in the fandom. I got involved with the Furry Fandom around 2009. If you were a Furry around that time you were under the shadow of, what I prefer to call, the “Vanity Fair Era”. Named that cause of the infamous article published by Vanity Fair titled, “Pleasures of the Fur”, in 2001. Which presented the Furry Fandom as a sexual fetish and only as a sexual fetish. Along with MTV’s Sex2K episode, “Plushies and Furries,” and the famous CSI episode, “Fur and Loathing,” in 2003 that painted a clear picture of the fandom to mainstream audiences. Supposedly we are about sex and only sex.

Of course that isn’t true. It’s a part of the fandom but it’s not what defines the fandom. Furries are people who love walking talking animals and how they show that love depends on the person. It is as silly for people as it is serious. You can have a fursuit or not. You can create artwork in the fandom or be an observer. It can be sexual for you and it cannot. We all have different levels based around that same love and as long as we are respectful and understand people’s different viewpoints we bring forward a beauty of community the Furry Fandom provides. Anyone who has been in or actually explores the fandom understands that, but with stories like CSI that wasn’t what people were seeing. It’s why for the longest time, and still to a degree, Furries don’t talk to the media because the media has done a poor job with representing us.

Which has lead to moments like the Inside Edition undercover story at FC in 2015 or several smaller press organizations trying to sneak in to get the right sound bite that fits into the ‘Furries as only a sexual fetish’ narrative. I remember when getting involved with the fandom watching those Uncle Kage videos about how to interact/ avoid the media or how he responded when the media went to him. There was no question about it. If you were a Furry under the Vanity Fair Era you were one of the lowest of the low. Someone to be openly mocked and ridiculed. Something you had to hide.

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Yiffing for dollars: Furry artists among top highest-paid Patreon creators.

by Patch O'Furr

The planet is in trouble and every species has a complaint these days, so let a dog bark about politics.  If I had a crystal ball to see into the coming Trump years, I bet there would be nothing but murk with occasional mushroom clouds.  The power-hungry pumpkinhead will bring isolationism, extreme nativism, and turmoil for international relations.  He gives lip service about bringing back jobs, but with no plan beyond drunkenly slashing and burning everything: Regulations, facts, the social contract. Don’t be surprised if work involving foreign trade vaporizes with no replacement, leaving only burger-flipping and a Limbo game for wages.  (Burgers will be a nice memory while gnawing rats in the rubble.)

But if the Doomsday Clock stays at a minute to midnight, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Maybe business will have a bounce.  Not in the old economy way before they had robots do the work, but if they aren’t hiring, what’s better than making your own career?

Look at what’s up on the indie level. And this caught my eye: “Can This Startup Reinvent How Doggie Portraits Are Sold?

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