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Tag: CreateSpace

A&H Club, Volume 1, by Rick Griffin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

A&H Club, volume 1, by Rick Griffin. Illustrated.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, April 2018, trade paperback, $18.29 (unpaged [82 pages]).

Popular furry writer/artist Rick Griffin has two Internet comic strips. Housepets! is the one that everyone is familiar with. Once a year he collects them and publishes a Create/Space album.

A&H Club is his other Internet strip. In one way it’s just more familiar high-class Griffin anthropomorphic art, and jokes about not wearing any pants. In another it’s the opposite of what Griffin does in Housepets! It’s serious, not comedic, even if it does view today’s society as semi-comedic. It’s realistic, not fantastic; aside from featuring anthropomorphic animals who walk about nude below the waist. Its two main characters are a pair of lesbian lovers (Adrian is really bi), one of whom is a single mother. It consists of full pages rather than strips.

Griffin first collected his A&H Club into three comic books of between 22 and 28 pages each. Now he has gathered those into a CreateSpace album of 82 pages including the three front & rear covers.

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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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Mythic Transformations, by Kris Schnee – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Mythic Transformations, by Kris Schnee
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2017, trade paperback, $7.99 (189 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This collection of fourteen short stories by Schnee is about transformations rather than anthropomorphic characters. “In this story collection, people not only encounter these beings but become them.” (blurb)

“Guardians of Mistcrown” is set in a traditional fantasy world. Darius, a young mapmaker, is looking for a new caravan route through the Mistcrown mountains. He finds a cave guarded by Zara, a griffin, who is compelled to kill anyone who comes too close to a hidden source of magical mana. Darius and Zara trade bodies, to Darius’ dismay. But he finds that there are advantages to being a powerful, flying, ageless griffin – if he can just break the wizard’s spell that binds him to the mountain cave with the mana.

“The Petlyakov-15 Amusement Engine” is for video-game geeks.

Devjn, a hard-core video-gamer, finds an old 1980s Eastern Bloc video game in a yard sale.

“He called the saleslady over from her busy work of rearranging battered stuffed animals. ‘Is this some kind of custom case on a Nintendo?’

She shrugged. ‘It was my cousin’s, but then he moved out all of the sudden. Wasted all of his time playing video games.’” (p. 27)

Devin is intrigued by the “PE-15” Cyrillic lettering, and amused by its apparent imitation of old American/Japanese video games.

“The next day he dug up a copy of ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and blew dust out of it. He smiled at the shine of the classic golden cartridge. The PE-15 came on and showed him … ‘The Legend of Svetlana’?” (p. 28)

Devin plays deeper and deeper into the PE-15. Since Mythic Transformations is a collection of stories of “people not only encounter[ing] these beings but become[ing] them”, the only question is what will Devin turn into? Hint: it isn’t a fairy-tale princess.

“Little Grey Dragons” takes place in a classic poor Russian village. Washerwoman Alexi’s brother Petrov, the blacksmith’s assistant, finds two strange warm eggs in the forest.

“They turned at a noise from the egg that Alexi had touched. It was cracking. Alexi stared as the cracks spread for several long minutes, and finally a creature’s head emerged. Grey flesh, a grey snout, and a grey eye watching her. She stood there frightened and confused. ‘Petrov,’ she whispered, ‘what is this?’

Petrov murmured, ‘Not Firebirds. Zmei.’ He stared at the other egg, obviously willing it to crack, and it began to do so.” (p. 37)

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Housepets! Let Instincts Do Their Thing (Book 8), by Rick Griffin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Housepets! Let Instincts Do Their Thing (Book 8), by Rick Griffin
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2017, trade paperback $13.95 (52 pages).

Ta-Dah! Here is the latest annual collection of the Housepets! online comic strip by Rick Griffin. Housepets! has appeared each Monday-Wednesday-Friday since June 2, 2008. It has won the Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip for every year since! – for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and now 2016.

Book 8 contains the strips from June 8, 2015 to June 3, 2016; story arcs #91, “The Plot Against Spot”, to #100, “The 4 Animals You Meet In Heaven”, plus the one-off gag strips between these.

Housepets! presents the adventures of the dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets of Babylon Gardens, a typical residential suburban neighborhood – in an alternate universe. The animals are larger than in our universe (but not human-sized), can talk, are usually bipedal, and address their human owners as “Mom” and “Dad”. Their status is somewhere between pets and children. Points established over the years are that humans can bequeath their belongings to their pets, who do not need a human guardian; human storekeepers are not allowed to sell catnip to cats; human police forces have an auxiliary of Police Dogs who are not all police dogs; the pets comment sardonically on how they can go naked in public but their human “parents” can’t; and – lots of other stuff.

But in Book 8, the housepets’ adventures often take them outside their suburban locale. Story arc #92, “All’s Fair, part 2”, is set in the huge back yard of the Milton ferrets’ estate, which Keene Milton has turned into a big amusement park and “Annual Foodapalooza Jamboree!”; maybe in Babylon Gardens but hardly part of a typical neighborhood scene. Arcs #93 to #95, “Housepets 5000 BC, parts 1-3”, introduce the large jackal Satau of the Merimde, Dragon’s second avatar, who gets sent from Ancient Egypt into the future and is drawn to Tarot the Pekinese dog, the demigod Dragon’s current (150th) avatar. Their attempt to send Satau home lands all of them (Satau and the dogs Peanut and Tarot, and the cats Grape, Maxwell, and Sabrina) in 5000 BC, the Neolithic Era, long before the building of the Pyramids and the Sphinx (to Max’s disappointment). There are rival kingdoms of the dogs and cats, and Grape is kidnapped by Ptah, the chief-king of the cats, to be his queen. (That’s Ptah and Satau arm-wrestling on the cover, with Grape and Peanut in the background.) #98, “Flip That Den!”, is in the forest outside Babylon Gardens, and #100, “The 4 Animals You Meet”, takes place in Heaven. Or a dream. Or somewhere.

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The Animal Guild Series – Book Reviews by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

The Animal Guild Series

The Animal Guild, by Jennifer Sowle. 2nd Edition.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, May 2015, trade paperback, $11.97 ([5 +] 307 pages), Kindle $0.99.

Monsters in the Territory, by Jennifer Sowle. 2nd Edition.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, February 2015, trade paperback, $12.99 ([5 +] 340 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The Marrhob War, by Jennifer Sowle. 2nd Edition.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, February 2015, trade paperback, $12.47 ([5 +] 320 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The Nhorn, by Jennifer Sowle. 2nd Edition.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, March 2015, trade paperback, $11.97 ([5 +] 278 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Sowle’s Amazon “About the Author” says that she has been writing this Young Adult series since the age of 13. (Wikipedia says she was born in 1977.) Book 1 was published by CreateSpace on August 22, 2012, with this Second Edition on May 13, 2015. Book 2 was published on August 15, 2013 with this Second Edition on February 8, 2015. Book 3, March 6, 2014 and February 26, 2015. Book 4, June 8, 2014 and March 10, 2015. Book 5, January 26, 2015 and April 13, 2015. Further books are first editions.

What is the Animal Guild, and who is in it? The story is deliberately murky at the beginning:

“Corto dove between the mesquites and just missed the spiny cholla they cosseted under their branches. It was exactly how he’d cut his forepaw an hour ago and started the blood trail. Drok take every piece of cactus in this desert and chuck it over the white gates of Hell.

He didn’t continue the puerile curse because coyote scent wafted toward him again, stronger and closer. He hadn’t shaken his pursuers, attracted by the blood, and until he could hole up and stop the bleeding, he wouldn’t. The cairn terrier ran past the offensive cholla, which had been lurking in wait behind the mesquite, and wished again that he was a bit taller. […]” (The Animal Guild, p. 1)

In the opening pages the reader learns that Corto is a cairn terrier fleeing from coyotes through a desert. He is on a lone-dog mission, but he is resigned to being eaten by the pursuing coyotes, until he is unexpectedly saved by a fox. But wildies don’t associate with guilders like Corto, do they?

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