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Tag: adventure

The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon, by Lowell H. Press – book review by Fred Patten

by Dogpatch Press Staff

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

The kingdom of the Sun and Moon CoverThe Kingdom of the Sun and Moon, by Lowell H. Press. Maps.

Bellevue, WA, Parkers Mill Publishing, September 2014, trade paperback $11.99 ([xv +] 297 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $0.99.

This Young Adult fantasy (winner of a 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award, for Teen Fiction (13-18 Years), of the Independent Book Publishers Association) is set in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, home of the Habsburg monarchs of Austria, about 1820. In those days almost all royal palaces had large populations of mice (so did the average citizens’ houses), so the 19th century map of the palace and its grounds is accurate as to the location of the fictional mouse Kingdom of the Double-Headed Eagle.

The König is a tyrant.

His subjects are starving.

And all-out war is fast approaching.

Will a pair of young, courageous

Brothers save their kingdom? (blurb)

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Read Only Memories, the cyberpunk video game with an LGBT twist – Review by Pup Matthias.

by Pup Matthias

 

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Read Only Memories: A New Cyberpunk Adventure
Develop by MidBoss, Rated M for Mature
Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Ouya $9.99

Do you like Cyberpunk? Do you like stories where technology is rampant in all aspects of modern life? How about being a detective like from Blade Runner trying to solve the murder of your old friend only to discover a bigger conspiracy tied to a large corporations like 1984? Do you like cute, adorable robots? Then Read Only Memories is for you, my friend.

ROM_BannerRead Only Memories is an old school adventure game released in October of 2015, but it offers a look at a future that not only celebrates the tropes of the sub-genre, but reflects what our own future might very well be.

You play, well, yourself. It’s Christmas time in Neo-San Francisco in the year 2064 A.D. Technology has advanced so much that the human body can be repaired and enhanced with cybernetic augmentation or genetic modification. Hybrids are looking less human and more like a furry convention. The Oculus Rift turns out to be a success as they are the common portable devices for people to use for the web. And most of all, Relationship Organizational Managers, or ROMs, have become the new IPhone, Roomba; pretty much all-common tech today, but it has cute little eyes. Aw.

However, all is not well. With technology moving at such a rampant pace, people get scared (because have you seen what happens in Terminator?) It leads to the Human Revolution, seeking to slow the progress of today, in fear that without checks and balances we might lose what makes us human.

It’s a tense time to be alive.  So where are you in all of this?

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The Suspended Castle – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Suspended Castle, by Fred. [Translated by Richard Kutner.]
NYC, Candlewick Press/TOON Books, October 2015, hardcover $16.95 (53 [+ 1] pages).

7655555The Suspended Castle (Le Château Suspendu) is Book 3 in the Philémon series by Fred (Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, 1931-2013), serialized in the classic French comics magazine Pilote. The weekly strip was collected into 15 books between 1972 and 1987. Fred retired leaving Philémon’s adventures uncompleted, until he wrote/drew a 16th volume to finish the series just before his death.

Book 1, Cast Away on the Letter A, was reviewed here in January, and book 2, The Wild Piano, in June. Fred’s Philémon was/is a surrealistic cartoon strip in the tradition of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. Philémon is a teenage farmboy in the French countryside of the 1960s-‘70s who falls down a well and has psychedelic adventures on the literal letters ATLANTIC of the Atlantic Ocean of a parallel world. The series is only marginally anthro-animal, but it contains many imaginative fantastic animals in bizarre settings that lovers of top-quality newspaper comic-strip art, and furry fans, will want to see. Philémon, and Fred’s other works, have been hits in France for almost fifty years, almost constantly in print.

In the first two albums, teenager Philémon falls down an abandoned old well on his father’s farm in the French countryside and has fantastic adventures on the two A’s of the ATLANTIC ocean of a parallel world. He meets Mister Bartholomew (Barthélémy), an old Robinson Crusoe-like hermit from our world who was cast away onto the first A forty years ago. Philémon returns to his skeptical father Hector’s farm at the end of Cast Away on the Letter A, but he accidentally leaves Mr. Barthlomew behind. In The Wild Piano, Phil’s Uncle Felix (Félicien) turns out to be an amateur magician who knows how to return to the parallel world. (The “portal” is a different fantastic method each time.) He sends Phil back to rescue Mr. Bartholomew, which he does after more adventures on the letter N.

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Swat Kats creator gives an interview about the show, with a few days left on Kickstarter!

by Patch O'Furr

Enjoy Christian Tremblay’s interview with Dogpatch Press below, and help make a cool show happen.

The campaign ends 8/22/15:  SWAT-KATS REVOLUTION, by TREMBLAY BROS STUDIOS.

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Demand from devoted fans is bringing back the Swat Kats TV series for the first time in 20 years.  Fandom kept the show alive since it was canceled in 1994 with only two seasons.  If you missed it, here’s the lowdown from Swatkats.info:

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Doc Rat Vol. 13 and 14, by Jenner – Book Reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Doc Rat. Vol. 13, Lucky for Some, Doc, by Jenner.
Melbourne, Vic., Australia, Platinum Rat Productions, June 2014, trade paperback A$16.00 (unpaged [76 pages]).

Doc Rat. Vol. 14, Prey Tell, Doc: Son of Fortenflanck, by Jenner.
Melbourne, Vic., Australia, Platinum Rat Productions, December 2014, trade paperback A$16.00 (unpaged [88 pages]).

Vol-13-cover-front-proof-Small-450x316These are the latest two pocket-sized volumes of Jenner’s Doc Rat online daily comic strip. They are especially desirable right now when the Doc Rat website is having electronic problems, so you couldn’t read these strips for free on its archive if you wanted to. But even when the archive comes back online, these thin booklets are extremely handy for carrying around with you. They are only available in one bookshop in Melbourne, and by mail order over the strip’s website for A$16.00 or US$12.95 each. They are highly recommended.

It’s no secret today that Jenner is Dr. Craig Hilton, a general practitioner in a suburb of Melbourne. Dr. Benjamin Rat M.B., many etc.’s, is also a GP in a suburb of the Australian animal city of Fornor. Jenner began Doc Rat in June 2006, and like any long-running comic strip, it has a wealth of backstory and supporting characters by now. It helps if you are familiar with them, but it’s not essential; just as it isn’t essential to be familiar with the medical profession to appreciate all the technical references that Doc Rat and his staff plus others (Gizelle Thomson, his Thomson’s gazelle office receptionist; Mary Scamper, his motherly rabbit nurse; and numerous pharmaceutical high-pressure salesmen) casually throw around. Doc Rat has his own GP practice, and most of the situations that he faces are shared by any small business: billing, paperwork, keeping up with the latest developments in your specialty, and so on.

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The Rainbow Serpent: A Kulipari Novel, by Trevor Pryce – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Rainbow Serpent: A Kulipari Novel, by Trevor Pryce with Joel Naftali. Illustrated by Sanford Greene.
NYC, Abrams/Amulet Books, October 2014, hardcover $15.95 ([3 +] 289 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $9.99.

51DpIBKsGLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This is the middle novel of an adventurous Young Adult trilogy, following An Army of Frogs (May 2013) and coming before the concluding Amphibians’ End (October 2015). “Frogs and Platypuses versus Scorpions and Spiders”. With a double-page color map showing such places as Wallaby Village, Platypus Village, The Outback, and Yarrangobilly Caves, you can easily guess that it’s set in Australia.

An Army of Frogs established Daryl, the adolescent frog protagonist, as a wannabe warrior like the fabled Kulipari who fought to protect Daryl’s damp-forest Amphibilands homeland from the spider armies of beautiful but cruel Queen Jarrah a generation ago. Unfortunately, the Kulipari have since disappeared, while the Spider Queen has formed an alliance with the scorpions’ evil Lord Marmoo. The scorpions have traditionally lived in the dry Outback and not bothered the frogs, but now Lord Marmoo is building a vast army to conquer the world. Having the Spider Queen’s help is all he needs:

“‘No, my lord. Your army is ten times bigger than any scorpion horde since the time of legend.’

‘Indeed. But as our numbers increase, we drain the outback. We’re running out of food and water. We need a more fertile land.’ Lord Marmoo’s pincers snapped shut. ‘We need the Amphibilands, and soon it will be ours.’” (An Army of Frogs, p. 34)

An Army of Frogs ends with Daryl and his sidekick Gee alone at the border of the Amphibilands and the Outback, defeating (mostly by trickery) the first scorpion troops to invade the Amphibilands. But Gee is captured. Daryl has to decide whether to go home to warn the frog elders of the scorpion menace, and get help (which would be prudent), or to venture alone into the Outback to try to rescue Gee (which would be adventurous). No contest! Read the rest of this entry »

The Stray Lamb, by Thorne Smith – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Stray Lamb, by Thorne Smith.
NYC, Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, November 1929, hardcover $2.00 (vi + 303 pages).

stray lamb 1stYarst! I referred in a recent comment here (June 15) to “Thorne Smith-ian comedy magical mayhem”, and I was asked, “Who’s Thorne Smith?” (“You don’t know how old you just made me feel …”)

Thorne Smith (1892-1934) was the author of several mega-popular humorous fantasies during the late 1920s and early ‘30s. Most of them involved statues of Greek gods coming to life in modern NYC (The Night Life of the Gods), or their characters getting drunk and mixed up with magic. Many became comedy movies, such as the 1940 Hal Roach Turnabout with John Hubbard and Carole Landis as a husband-&-wife whose minds switch bodies, and the three 1930s Topper movies about Cosmo Topper, a stuffy banker who is plagued by usually-drunken husband-&-wife ghosts who are determined to make him enjoy life, whether Topper wants to or not. A young Cary Grant played the husband ghost in the first movie. Topper was cleaned up for one of the first TV sitcoms in 1953. (The drinking was given to a ghostly St. Bernard dog.)

Smith’s one anthro classic was The Stray Lamb. This bawdy fantasy was published in November 1929, probably less than a month after the “Black Thursday” stock market crash that set off the Great Depression. This makes The Stray Lamb the only anthropomorphic novel written during and set in the Roaring Twenties, the era of wild Prohibition parties, of sheiks and flappers and bootleggers and bathtub gin. How would anthropomorphized animals fit into this? Very comedically, as Smith tells it.

Lawrence Lamb, a forty-year-old investment banker, is bored with life. It has become a monotonous routine of daily commutes from his large mansion in the NYC suburbs to Wall Street to make more money, then back at the end of the day to spend the evening getting mildly drunk alone in his study. He and his wife have grown to despise each other. She has social pretensions (she likes to be called Sapho), which she indulges by encouraging her artistic hangers-on to attend literary soirees at their home, financed by his money while ridiculing him for making it:

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The Echoes of Those Before, by James Daniel Ross – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Echoes of Those Before, by James Daniel Ross. Illustrated by Josh Parise.
Clairton, PA, Copper Fox Books, May 2015, trade paperback $11.99 ([3 +] 256 pages), Kindle $2.99.

echoes-cover-half“In a broken world, in a broken land, there lay the shards of a kingdom. Near the center of that lost kingdom, protected by mountains, there lay a vale; along the river resided the five villages of the Fox Folk: Iceriver in the cleft of the hills where sun rarely shone; Oxbow, where the fishing was best even if done through the ice; Rocklake, where lived the steaming mud pits and the elder, where matters of law were discussed; Springvale at the entrance to the vale where the merchants and craftsmen met incoming caravans, and Sunrise, high on the slopes.

It was normally a peaceful, happy place among the low, rolling hills and tall, stately trees. Normally happy, but not today. Today they were losing one of their own.” (p. 4)

The Prologue and the first chapter introduce the main characters, Iam the white-furred Fox and Maverus the black-furred (shown on the cover by Christina Yoder) of the Fox Folk. They also establish that the Fox Folk are not the only Animal Folk, and that they have counterparts among the regular animals.

“Before the fire, stood the tall, gaunt form of the elder.   He was not a Fox, but a Drake. Some whispered he was a dragon, but he stood only just taller than they, and never breathed fire. He blinked inscrutable eyes set in a pebbly, gray reptilian face, tasted the air with a long, forked tongue, and adjusted his robes for more warmth.” (p. 6)

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Last of the SandWalkers, by Jay Hosler – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Last of the SandWalkers, by Jay Hosler. Illustrated by the author.
NYC, First Second, April 2015, trade paperback $16.99 ([5 +] 312 pages), Kindle $9.99.

9781626720244_p0_v1_s260x420Biologist/entomologist/cartoonist Dr. Jay Hosler has been creating comic books and cartoon-art books since the 1990s. He may be best-known for his award-winning Clan Apis, a dramatic adventure featuring honeybees that was also (allowing for the anthropomorphization) entomologically accurate; first published as a five-issue comic book in 1998 and still in print as a graphic novel today. Now Hosler has written & drawn Last of the SandWalkers, a science-fiction comedy-drama for readers 10 and up, featuring beetles, for First Second, a subsidiary of publishing giant Macmillan.

The main characters are a scientific expedition of five beetles, all different: Lucy (shown on the cover), a sassy, rule-breaking junior member and a water-capturing tenebrionid beetle from the Southern African desert; Professor Bombardier, the motherly stable team member, a bombardier beetle; Mossy, a giant but unassuming Hercules rhinoceros beetle; Raef, a not-very-bright (mentally) firefly; and grumpy Professor Owen, a small but nasty Cape stag beetle. They are from New Coleopolis, a beetle city under a palm tree in an isolated desert oasis. New Coleopolis was founded a little over a thousand years ago, after old Coleopolis was destroyed by cocoanuts falling on it from the palm tree. It was assumed at the time by religious leaders that the god Scarabus had caused the falling cocoanuts due to displeasure at Coleopolis’ scientific community’s iconoclastic spirit, and since then the new theocratic city has outlawed research. This expedition is the first in a thousand years.

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The Wild Piano, by Fred – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Wild Piano, by Fred. [Translated by Richard Kutner.]61QEi8btoPL
NYC, Candlewick Press/TOON Books, May 2015, hardcover $16.95 (45 [+ 1] pages).

The Wild Piano (Le Piano Sauvage) is Book 2 in the Philémon series by Fred (Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, 1931-2013), serialized in the classic French comics magazine Pilote. The weekly strip was collected into 15 books between 1972 and 1987. Fred retired leaving Philémon’s adventures uncompleted, until he wrote/drew a 16th volume to finish the series just before his death.

Book 1, Cast Away on the Letter A, was reviewed here in January. I won’t repeat the gushing praise that I lavished upon it, but briefly: Philémon was/is a surrealistic cartoon strip in the tradition of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. Philémon is a teenage farmboy in the French countryside of the 1960s-‘70s who falls down a well and has psychedelic adventures on the literal letters ATLANTIC of the Atlantic Ocean of a parallel world. Philémon, and Fred’s other works, were instant hits in France, reprinted so often that Fred was able to retire and live off his royalties. It is a sad commentary on the lack of interest in non-American cartoon art in America that the Philémon books are only now being published here after 40+ years. A Philémon live-action movie full of VFX, French-produced but in English, was announced as in pre-production in 2013.

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