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Tag: fantasy

A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death, by J. R. Archer – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death, by J. R. Archer
Hove, England, White Crow Books, June 2017, trade paperback $14.99 (ix + 299 pages), Kindle $4.99.

This is an intriguing fantasy, but from an anthropomorphic point of view, it’s ultimately unsatisfying.

The locale is New York City. The chapters are short. In chapter one, Svetlana witnesses Robbie commit suicide, leaving Rosie, a small dog. In chapter two, rich, elderly Margaret Roper and her small dog Rags are introduced. In chapter three, young Black police officer Teddy Dwight investigates Robbie’s suicide and takes charge of Rosie. In chapter four, Margaret has a fatal heart attack. Her son Will, who has anger issues, is mostly resentful at the inconvenience her funeral will cause him. He breaks his promise to look out after Rags, who is sent to a dog shelter.

Most of the first nine chapters are entirely about the human cast. The dogs are little more than props. Other important characters are young Milo McGarry, the conscientious Black receptionist at the East 110th Street dog shelter (which is expected to go out of business soon), where Rosie and Rags are taken; two other dogs there: Lennon, a hulking but kindly Great Dane, and Darcy, a rescued Greyhound ex-racing dog; Sebastian, Svetlana’s pet Borzoi-German Shepherd mix; and Elton, Milo’s long-haired Chihuahua.

The dogs finally talk in chapter Ten. Chapters Thirteen, Fifteen, and some others are also devoted to the dogs, but for an anthropomorphic novel, it’s too little, too late.

The dogs don’t talk verbally but mind-to-mind.

“‘Allow me to introduce myself, Lennon, my name is Rags.’

The Great Dane sat up, looking surprised. ‘How’d ya know my name?’

‘It came to me as soon as we connected.’

‘Seriously? … I’ve never been able to do that. Have you just arrived, little fella?’

‘I got in early this morning.’

‘Rags, if you want a heads up, I’ve been here for a while now, and for me it’s home. I don’t know how long you’re gonna be here but, while you are, let’s be friends.’” (p. 47)

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ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot, by David DePasquale – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot, by David DePasquale. Illustrated.
Los Angeles, The author, July 2017, hardcover $30.00 (unpaged [168 pages).

I went to the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank, CA during August to see the “ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot” art exhibit by David DePasquale; a full 78-card Tarot deck in color, divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards split into 14 cards each of the four Tarot suits (swords, wands, pentacles, and cups), with each card featuring an anthropomorphized animal. Besides the original art (for sale), there were the printed cards, a rotating enlargement slide show so the attractive stylized art could be easily seen in detail, and brief notes on the history of Tarot and the meanings of the cards.

In addition to the exhibit, visitors could buy in advance (the publication date is in September) the printed 3.5” x 5.5” deck of 78 cards in a customized tuck box, and a de luxe hardcover book showing the 78 cards individually on right-hand pages with a one-page explanation of each on the left-hand page:

THE NINE OF WANDS

Upright: Determination, Hope, Persistence

The Nine of Wands can represent searching inside yourself for the inner strength to overcome a final hurdle. You have worked through many obstacles to get to where you are now, so do not give up when you are so close!

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Avaritia: A Fable, by M.D. Westbrook- Book Review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Avaritia: A Fable, by M.D. Westbrook
Wichita, KS, M.W. Publishers, April 2016, trade paperback $9.99 (200 pages), Kindle $1.00.

Usually the dedication of a book is not pertinent, but this one really sets the mood:

“This book is dedicated to rising taxes, broken promises, forgotten children, crime, starvation, war, death, and despair.

Thanks for the inspiration, guys. Couldn’t have done it without you.”

Avaritia has a very plain cover (by the author, credited as Mark D. Westbrook), but it turns out that there is a reason for this. The novel is grim and preachy, but fascinating in an Old Testament way. The only anthropomorphic novel that I can think of that’s remotely similar to this is the black comedy Play Little Victims by Kenneth Cook (1978). See my 2014 review of it on Flayrah: https://www.flayrah.com/5725/review-play-little-victims-kenneth-cook

But there is nothing funny about Avaritia. I read Play Little Victims almost forty years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. I don’t expect to ever forget Avaritia, either.

Avaritia begins in a house with a human father, a mother, and two brothers. The younger brother has three pet rats. The older brother has a bowl of mice, but Older Brother Human only keeps them to feed to his pet snake.

The characters in Avaritia are its mice and rats. The story begins with Older Brother Human lifting Radish, one of the mice, out of the bowl to feed to his boa constrictor while her mate, Cookie, pounds on the glass and squeaks, “Take me! Take me and leave her!”

“Cookie cried uncontrollably, watching as the snake slithered behind his mate.

In a blink, the snake struck. Radish released a final squeak as the constrictor wrapped around her lower abdomen.

‘Noooo!’ Cookie wailed.

Radish opened her mouth, gasping, and beat her tiny paws against the orange and yellow scales, but to no avail. Radish’s once soft pink eyes bulged, now a darker hue of red.

Older Brother Human laughed out loud. ‘Good boy, Petey. Eat ‘er up.’” (p. 2)

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Garbage Night, by Jen Lee. – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Garbage Night, by Jen Lee. Illustrated.
London, NYC, Nobrow Ltd., June 2017, hardcover $18.95 (98 pages).

Garbage Night is #2 in Lee’s Vacancy series; what Amazon calls “dystopian graphic novels”. Vacancy, #1 in the series, was published in June 2015. But Garbage Night the book includes the complete Vacancy as a bonus. Garbage Night itself is 70 pages, followed immediately by “Now read Jen Lee’s original comic, Vacancy” for 26 more pages. You should skip directly to Vacancy, read it first, then return to the beginning of Garbage Night. Be warned that it still ends with a “to be continued”.

What is going on is unexplained. The blurb for the first story says, “Vacancy explores the ways that animals think; how they internalize their changing environment and express their thoughts, fears, or excitement.” The blurb for Garbage Night says, “Juvenile animals strive to survive across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in this striking parable about the nature of freedom and friendship.” What it is is about anthropomorphic animals (they wear clothes and are bipedal) living in a deserted, humanless world.

Simon is a pet watchdog left behind when his humans disappeared. But it is obvious that what’s happened is more complex than that. The entire town shows years of having been deserted. Signs are peeling, windows are broken, cloth is rotting, roofs are falling in. Simon roams through his owners’ empty house, wishing that they’d return to fil his food bowl, but not really believing it after so long. What remains of the town has been scavenged out of food by the abandoned pets and nearby wildlife like Monica the opossum. When two forest animals pass through town – Cliff, a raccoon, and Reynard, a deer with a broken antler – Simon asks to go with them. “I need someone to show me the ropes of the wild.”

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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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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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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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Plowed, edited by Andres Cyanni Halden – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Plowed, edited by Andres Cyanni Halden.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2014, trade paperback $19.95 (212 pages), e-book $9.95.

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

The catchphrase for Plowed is “Ten Foxes – Ten Farms – Loads of Plowing”. This is an anthology of “ten saucy stories” all featuring foxes on farms with much explicit m/m sex.

The fox in “A Little Drop of Poison” by editor Andres Cyanni Halden is narrator Taslim Hajjar, a 20-year-old fennec. Since fennecs are North African foxes, it makes sense that Taslim is a Muslim. He’s the son of a rich Saudi father who is specializing in acquiring European vineyards and selling expensive wines to restaurants. (The Qur’an just says that Muslims shouldn’t drink alcohol; not that they can’t raise and sell it to unbelievers.) Tas is with his father inspecting a vineyard he intends to buy. The bored youth sneaks off to relax alone in the solitude of the vineyard’s wine cellars. He’s found there by one of the vineyard’s workers, “a very large, jet black bull setting down a wine cask beside one of the large racks.” The massive bull, Leeroy, can scent that the little fennec is very aroused by him. And Leeroy is a dom while Tas is a sub.

“‘Now,’ he said, his free paw trailing up my arm, across my shoulder, all the way up to lightly brush across one of my ears. ‘I’ve always been told fennec foxes like having their ears rubbed.’ He ran his rough finger along the edge, his touch surprisingly delicate. ‘Friend of mine told me it gets ‘em all hot and heavy.’” (p. 12)

That’s only the beginning of a very NSFW scene.

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